Construction of the new Kanas Lake Theater in Xinjiang, China

A New Theater at Xinjiang’s Kanas Lake

April 4 | 4 Comments

It seems as though one of Xinjiang’s most popular tourist destinations is about to get a makeover. Kanas Lake, located in the northern tip of the Xinjiang province, is known by most people for its incredible natural beauty and a “Loch Ness”-like monster, but it might soon be home to a majestic new Kanas Lake theater as well.

While most Xinjiang news sites have remained silent about the project, the Kanas government website has alluded to the building of a cultural art center many times and Broadway Malyan, the company that was commissioned to design the building, claims that construction is slated to start in May of this year.

A view of the Kanas Lake Theater close up in Xinjiang, China

The multi-purpose theater will have 1,200 seats – significantly less than the 2,340 seats the government first planned but probably still more than they’ll need. Opera, dances, and cultural theater are expected to entertain the growing number of tourist that continue to flock to Kanas Lake.

Travel to Kanas Lake

Currently tourism to Kanas Lake is year-round and includes options to hike, backpack, snow ski, stay in yurts and many other activities. Of course, they are also building up 1st-class amenities which include great restaurants and comfortable hotels.

Kanas Lake is not exactly “easily” accessible, although that is changing every year. There is a nearby airport with flights to Urumqi and frequent buses that require at least 10 hours of travel from the capital (not exactly a quick ride). They’ve also opened up a train to a city not to far, but it takes about as long as a bus.

If you are going to travel to Xinjiang this summer and might take a trip to Kanas Lake, check out the site and let me know if construction has actually begun. Below are pictures of what it should look like and feel free to leave comments sharing your opinion on this new addition to the Kanas tourism offering.
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Photos of the New Kanas Lake Theater

Inside the new Kanas Lake Theater in Xinjiang, China

Kanas Lake Theater Foyer in Xinjiang, China

A reverse view of the new Kanas Lake Theater in Xinjiang, China

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. The operating principle seems to be “build it and they will come”. While I have heard they would like to develop the area for high end tourism, this seems a stretch. This screams “white elephant” I’m sure that is why plans are low key


    Josh on April 6th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I agree, but I think it’s so funny that the design firm seems confident that construction begins next month. I guess they haven’t worked in Asia too often?


  2. This isn’t the only Kanas Lake project about which Chinese government web sites “have remained silent.”

    How about the plan to construct a part of the Sino-Russian natural gas line within the Kanas Lake area?

    Read my summary of a South China Morning Post news item here:


    Josh on April 6th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for pointing that out, Bruce. I hadn’t seen that before and I’ll be sharing it on Twitter. Such a shame…I hope that doesn’t go through.


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