The red-brown rocks that make up Red Hill have long been a symbol for the unique nature of Urumqi. The hill sits north of the city, swathed in dense greenery. Once dotted with shrines & temples, the only significant building which survived the Civil War is the Pagoda peeking out from the forest at the top of Red Hill, from which vantage point the whole of Urumqi can be seen.
Red Hill' s mythology is as intoxicating as the hill itself: in ancient times, a huge red dragon flew from Heavenly Lake and was trapped by the Heavenly Empress, who cut him in two with her sword. The two halves of the dragon formed the Red Hill and Yamalike Hill, which stands less than a kilometer from its separated half. The sword turned into Urumqi River: a glittering band of water which winds its way between the two hills.
In the 1780s, rumors circulated that the hills were growing closer together again, after a series of floods hit the area. If the hills met it would block off the Urumqi river and the city would flood completely. Fearing the worst, General Shang An had a pair if pavilions built: one on the top of each hill to guard against such catastrophe, and named them Zhen Long ( ''to subdue the dragon'' ). It obviously worked, as the hills are still separated and Urumqi remains above water. Interestingly, topological study has revealed that the hills were once one, separated only when the sparkling '' sword'' of the Urumqi River ruptured it.
Red Hill Park now features modern entertainment facilities which house performances of traditional Xinjiang folk dance and song.