Linxia City is a county-level city in the province of Gansu of the People's Republic of China, and the capital of the multi-ethnic Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. It is located in the valley of the Daxia River (a right tributary of the Huanghe), 150 km (by road) southwest of the provincial capital Lanzhou.
The population of the entire county-level city of Linxia (which includes both the central city and some rural area) is estimated at 250,000; of which, 58.4% is classified as urban population. According to the prefectural government, 51.4% of Linxia City's population belongs to the "Hui nationality", i.e. the Chinese-speaking Muslims. Some members of Linxia Prefecture other minority ethnic groups, such as Dongxiang, Bonan, and Salar, live in the city.
For centuries, Hezhou/Linxia has been one of the main religious, cultural, and commercial centers of China's Muslim community, earning itself the nickname of "the little Mecca of China". In the words of the ethnologist Dru Gladney, "Almost every major Islamic movement in China finds its origin among Muslims who came to Linxia disseminating new doctrines after pilgrimage to Middle Eastern Islamic centers". It remains the main center of China's Qadiriyyah and Khufiyya Sufi orders; it was also the home of Ma Mingxin, the founder of the Jahriyya order, although that order's "center of gravity" has shifted elsewhere since