Dingxi City is located in central Gansu province, 98 km east of Lanzhou, giving it the nickname the "eastern gateway". The Wei River, a tributary of the Yellow River flows through the district and provides it with the majority of its water. Dingxi is semi-arid, with little precipitation. Even though sunlight here can be intense, temperatures are generally cool. The surrounding terrain is mostly loess hills and ravines in the north and highlands in the south. The area is 20,300 km².
Dingxi was important in the development of some of China's earliest cultures, specifically along the Wei River, one of the Yellow River's biggest tributaries. Numerous Neolithic sites from various cultures are found throughout the area.
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