A decisive point on the ancient Silk Road, Xining has many traces of that legendary era of the Middle Ages, while still remaining the beating heart of Qinghai Province. Discover an exhilarating land, made from endless abundant meadows with grazing yaks and mountains worthy of neighboring Mongolia. It's hardly surprising that the Mongolian ethnic groups have nicknamed "Kokonor", "the blue lake", in tribute to Lake Qinghai. As well as being the highest and the largest lake in the Republic of China, Lake Qinghai enthralls with its crystal beauty made of desert shores and expanses of blue as far as the eye can see; a lake in a class of its own, and somewhat unusual, especially when its thousands of birds come from all over Asia to seek refuge. Once you've left this mystical place, take the road from the city and set off to explore its historical heritage, passing through the gates of Kumbum monastery. With its golden roofs, its typical Tibetan lodges and decorative profusion of a thousand hues, the monastery is a monument that bears witness to the local identity. Quite in contrast to what you'll discover when you venture into the great Dongguan Mosque, whose marriage of Chinese and Muslim influences with its green roofs enthralls. It's a stirring building, a far cry from the image that you might have of China, but whose visit will be extended by savoring some culinary delicacies, also tinged with Muslim influences, like the roast lamb dish, which might be referred to as mechoui in other regions of the world.