I came upon an article today in the Beijing Review about Khorgos. This is a place that’s located on the China / Kazakhstan border that I’ve been covering in depth on Forbes and is one of the core case studies in my book about the New Silk Road.
In this article, a local guy from Khorgos talks about how when he went to school in Urumqi — the capital of Xinjiang, around 800 or so kilometers away — people often asked him what the name of his hometown means:
Now, Khorgos is still a strange name for many people, even in Xinjiang. Guo was frequently asked what this word means when he was at college and he replied “it means a place where wealth accumulates.”
It’s a viable question, as Khorgos is a term from the language of the Junggar people who lived there in the 17th and 18th centuries.
But, while “place where wealth accumulates” may be a favorable translation, this may come at the expense of being correct.
Khorgos actually means “place of much camel dung.”