Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, or “Gannan Prefecture” for short, is an autonomous prefecture under jurisdiction of Gansu Province.
It traditionally was a part of “Amdo”
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has a total area of 36,594 square kilometers and a population of 705,000. Tibetans account for 55% and Han nationalities for 39%. The prefecture seat is Hezuo City.
It is located in southern part of Gansu Province at junction of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan. It borders Long’nan City to southeast, Dingxi City to east, Linxia Prefecture and Haidong City of Qinghai Province to north, Huangnan Prefecture and Golog Prefecture of Qinghai Province to west, and Aba Prefecture of Sichuan Province to south.
Gannan Prefecture is in transition zone between Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Loess Plateau, with Amnye Marchen and Xiqin Mountains in west; Min Mountain and Die Mountain in southeast; the hilly area of Qinling Mountains in east; and the grassland area in northwest. Yellow River flows through its southwest, Tao River and Bailong River flow through entire territory of Gannan Prefecture.
Gannan Prefecture has 1 county-level city and 7 counties under its jurisdiction.
National Key Protection Units
Labrang Monastery is a masterpiece of Tibetan culture in Amdo. It is not only a treasure house of literature and art, but also a museum of historical materials and cultural relics. This treasure house of Tibetan classics, historical archives and classic scriptures is preserved with numerous volumes. According to statistics of “Labrang Monastery General Bibliography”, there are more than 65,000 sutra books, among which there are 380 kinds of biography.
Ruins of Octagonal City, Octagonal city has a total length of 2193.4 meters and it is in shape of a hollow cross. It has eight corners, so it is called “octagonal city”.
The former site of Ejie Conference is an important historical site and representative building in modern times. In 1935, Politburo of Central Committee of Communist Party of China held an enlarged meeting of Politburo here to discuss issue of course of action
Rannao Site is a national key cultural relics protection unit, which is an ancient site. Its historical age is from Neolithic Age to Bronze Age
Mogou ancient site, The tombs unearthed at Mogou site (including tombs) are mainly Qi-jia (Qi family) culture and Siwa culture tombs, as well as scattered Ming and Qing tombs, with a total area of about 400,000 square meters. Mogou site is earliest human settlement found in southern Gansu. It is also westernmost site of Yangshao and Majiayao cultures that are discovered in Tao River Basin. It is of great value for studying distribution and continuation of relationship between “Three cultures“. It has high academic value to study nature of Qi family culture, funeral customs and origin of class.
Taozhou Acropolis is the largest existing acropolis in China. The city was originally named Houhe City, and being rebuilt in Northern Wei Dynasty (386 AD -534 AD) and being renamed “Honghe City”. In Ming Dynasty, it was rebuilt as present Taozhou Acropolis. It was severely damaged in earthquake in 2013. The city faces south from north and has a circumference of 5,430 meters. The acropolis’s south side faces river, other three sides face mountains
Galutian Big House was built in 32nd year of Republic of China (1943). Its big house was built against mountain in traditional Tibetan style of “no wood on outside, no soil on inside”. Front of big house faces south while its rear faces north. It is a quadrangle-style two-story building. Its layout is similar to that of Tibetan dwellings, but overall structure is to assume ring shape. There is no other decorations being applied to exterior, and raw soil materials and undulating changes in building form are fully utilized;
As a historical testimony to practice of “Uma” system of Xi-dao-tang, the big house has precious value in history of Chinese Islam, national culture, regional culture and architectural culture.
Geography and climate
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is high in northwest and low in southeast, slanting from northwest to southeast and its terrain is intricate.
Jishi mountain in its southwest, Xiqin mountain in its northwest, and Minshan-Dieshan mountain in its south form the main landform. These high mountains winding from west to east and the high plateaus between them constitute main landform area with an average elevation of more than 3,000 meters in west, north and south.
Gua-zi-gou-kou in Zhouqu County is the lowest point with an elevation of 1172 meters.
The topography of Gannan Prefecture presents three geomorphological areas, which are Mountains, canyons and hilly areas.
Gannan Prefecture has abundant sunshine and more precipitation. Except for Zhouqu and Diebu counties, where there is no severe cold period, the rest of prefecture has long winter, and short spring and autumn.
The annual average temperature in Gannan Prefecture is between 1 to -13℃. The general distribution trend is gradually decreasing from southeast to northwest. The distribution trend of temperature in the four seasons is roughly similar to the annual average temperature, decreasing from southeast to northwest.
Population and ethnic group
As of the end of 2017, the total population of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was 742,300, of which: Tibetan population 415,100, accounting for 56% of total population; Han nationality accounted for 38%; Hui nationality accounted for 6.25% ; Tu nationality accounted for 0.16%; Dongxiang people accounted for 0.07%; Salar people accounted for 0.05%; Manchu people accounted for 0.03%; Mongolian people accounted for 0.02%; Baoan people accounted for 0.02%; Bai people accounted for total population 0.02%; other ethnic minorities account for 0.03%。
In Neolithic Age, humans developed this ancient wasteland. “Qiang” tribe in Gannan prefecture gradually established their own tribal alliance and attached to dynasty of Central Plain
In Qin Dynasty, some places of Gannan area were already under jurisdiction of Lintao county.
In Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 8 AD), eastern of Gannan belonged to Longxi County and northern of Gannan belonged to Jincheng County.
In the period of Three Kingdoms, eastern of Gannan belonged to Wei Kingdoms, its south belonged to Shu Kingdom.
In 7th year of Emperor Yongjia in Western Jin Dynasty (313 AD), Tuyuhun regime was founded in Nanhan (now “Linxia County”), and Gannan was under jurisdiction of Tuyuhun. Tuyuhun regime opened up “Southern Silk Road”, which became main route connecting Central Plain with Tibet and India.
During Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), Lintao County, Huanhan County, and Dangchang County respectively governed parts of northwest and southeast of Gannan
In 3rd year of Emperor Longshuo (663 AD) of Tang dynasty, Tuyuhun regime was destroyed and Gannan area was occupied by Tubo kingdom, of which “Tangbo Ancient Road” was developed and passed through Gannan area.
In 6th year of Emperor Xining in Northern Song Dynasty (AD 1073), Gannan area was restored to Song Dynasty.
In 13th century, Mongolians entered Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and included Gannan area in its territory of Mongolian Khanate.
During Yuan dynasty, The local Tibetan goverment was established, Gannan area was under its jurisdiction
In 7th year of Emperor Hongwu of Ming Dynasty (AD 1372), Gannan area was under jurisdiction of Do-Kham
In early years of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty, the western part of Gannan was under jurisdiction of Amdo
During Republic of China, Gannan belonged to Gansu Province.
In 1953, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Region was established.
In 1955, it was changed to Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
In 1956, its prefectural capital was moved from Xiahe county to Hecuo Town, and “Hecuo” was renamed as “Hezuo”.
In 1998, “Hezuo town” was abolished and a county-level “city” was established, since then, the capital of Gannan prefecture is “Hezuo city“