Zhaosu county situates in a basin surrounded by mountains in the southwest part of Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, a place in the interior land of central Asia. Tekes county is in the east. Baicheng county and Wensu county of Akesu prefecture are to the south. Kazakhstan is in the west. And Qapqal county is in the north. The length of the border is about 220 kilometers. Zhaosu county has Muzhaerte, a nation first-level land port. It’s was listed as an opening county by the State Council in 2001.
Zhaosu boosts a long history. In the past, it’s also called “Zgtks” which was the hometown of people in Wusun kingdom. There were important transportation passages like “ice ladder” Ancient Xiata Path and Muzart Pass, both of which were important passages on the nearest way to the south of Xinjiang. The history of Zhaosu dated back to the Neolithic Age, more than 10,000 years ago. At that time, there were people living here, creating amazing ancient nomadic culture. The 2000 years from the establishment of Commandery of Western Regions in 60 BC to the establishment of the Ill Commandery saw frequent changes of feudal regimes, but it didn’t change the fact that the western region had been an integral part of China. In 1760, Mongolia people was registered as members of the left troupe of Erut Battallion. They were separated in “sumu” or “zuoling” (names for a basic organization in Qing Dynasty), so Zhaosu was also called “Liusumu”, literally six sumu. In 1889, the Shengyou Lamasery was built. In Kazak language, it was named “menggukure” or “lamazhao”, both meaning Mongolia Lamasery. An administrative bureau was set in 1938, and this place was named as “Zhaosu” which meant “awakening and recovering vitality” from “zhechong zhaosu” in Xiji of The Book of Rites.
Zhaosu county was a basin with high altitude of 1323 to 6995 meters surrounded by mountains in the interior land of the central Asia. The mountainous topography leads to a relatively unique natural environment. The Tianshan mountains to the south were tall and lofty, stopping the dry and hot wind form desert in south Xinjiang. The low Wusu Mountain to the north stretches from east to west. Chadaner Mountain in Kazakhstan and Shataoer Mountain in the west were also barriers to the outside atmosphere. So the east part of the basin was lower then those of the south, west and north. The proportion of the area of hills and mountains to that of plain is 4 to 1. 6995-meter-tall Khan Tengri peak was called “the father of Tianshan Mountains”. It situates on the border between China and Kazakhstan and is the second tallest peak of Tianshen Mountains. More than 100 square kilometers was covered by snow in a whole year, which was one of the reasons why it’s the main water source of Tekes River. In Xijiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Zhaosu county is the only county without desert.
Zhaosu county was exposed to Semi-arid and semi-humid cool climate of mountains in temperate continental climate. It has long winters and short summers with no clear cut of four seasons, just difference of being cold or warm. The spring and autumn was humid, cold and foggy and summer was represented by frequent thunder, rains and hail. The average annual temperature is 2.9℃, with 33.5℃ as the highest and －32℃ as the lowest. On average, 98 days in a year are with no frost. The average annual precipitation is as much as 511.8 mm, the most in Xinjiang. Rain distribution in the east is more than that of the west and that in mountains is more than that in basin. The average annual evaporation capacity is 1261.6 mm. The average annual sunshine duration is 2699 hours. And the annual radiation is 1364 calorie/square centimetre.
Zhaosu county boosts plenty of agricultural products, including but not limited to wheat, spring oilseed rape, barley, flax, potato, six-red-clove garlic and soybean. Glass in pastures can be divided into five categories, belonging to 37 families, 125 genus and 183 species. Among natural pastures are 75 kinds of wild herbal medicines, including fritillaria, saussurea involucrata, flos farfarae, astragalus membranaceus, radix bupleuri, lichen of parmelia saxitilis, rheum officinale, elecampane, liquorice, semen plantaginis, aconite, agrimonia pilosa and fraxinus bungeana. The husbandry mainly includes horse, cow and sheep. Rare wild animals include cervus elaphus, bears, snow leopard, marmot, muskrat, snow cock, cattle, brown bear and ovis ammon. Zhaosu county is especially famous for it’s high-quality horses which were called “sky horses”. In 2003, Zhaosu county was named as the town of sky horse in China by Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China.
Zhaosu county boosts abundant tourism resource. Natural resources includes Barleksu Prairie, million-acre land with rapeseed flowers, water curtain cave in Kulkuldek, Aheyazigo scenic area, Xiate hot spring, Muzartedarban, Tulasu glacier and Xiate valley. Cultural resources include Shengyou Temple, Gedeng Mountain Tablet, grassland stone figures, Xiate ancient road, Xiate ancient grove, Xiate ancient city, ancient border tablet, Boma City Ruin, Muzart port, Xiate deer park, Kobuerte cliff painting and the grave of Xijun princess.
Zhaosu county belonged to Wusun Kingdom in Han Dynasty which was famous for it’s “sky horse”--ferghana horse. Currently, there are five types of horses in the county, including yili horse, thoroughbred, Kirghizia horse, Ardenne and Warm warmblood. There are more than 60 thousand yili horses in the county. They are an outstanding bred in China, precious husbandry resource and a treasure coming from decades of care and hard work of different ethnic groups, especially Kazak and Mongol nationalities. In 2003, Zhaosu county was named as the hometown of Chinese sky horse by Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China.