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The Place Of Much Camel Dung

If I was from the Place of Much Camel Dung I would probably tell people this too.

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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.”


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Filed under: Kazakhstan

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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