Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, or “Gannan Prefecture” for short, is an autonomous prefecture under the jurisdiction of Gansu Province.
It is located in the southern part of Gansu Province at the junction of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan. The state borders Long’nan City to the southeast, Dingxi City to the east, Linxia Prefecture and Haidong City of Qinghai Province to the north, Huangnan Prefecture and Golog Prefecture of Qinghai Province to the west, and Aba Prefecture of Sichuan Province to the south.
Gannan Prefecture is in the transition zone between the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Loess Plateau, with the Amnye Marchen and Xiqin Mountains in the west; the Min Mountain and Die Mountain in the southeast; the hilly area of Qinling Mountains in the east; and the grassland area in the northwest. The Yellow River flows through its southwest, Tao River and Bailong River flow through the entire territory of Gannan Prefecture.
The 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 prefectureseat is based in Hezuo City.
Gannan Prefecture traditionally belongs to the Amdo region
Gannan Prefecture has 1 county-level city and 7 counties under its jurisdiction.
National key units in Gannan Tibetan Prefecture
Labrang Monastery is a masterpiece of Tibetan culture in the ancient Amdo region. 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 the statistics of “Labrang Monastery General Bibliography”, there are more than 65,000 sutra books, among which there are 380 kinds of biography.
Ruins of the Octagonal City, The octagonal city has a total length of 2193.4 meters and it is in the shape of a hollow cross. It has eight corners, so it is called the octagonal city.
The former site of Ejie Conference is an important historical site and representative building in modern times. In 1935, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held an enlarged meeting of the Politburo here to discuss the issue of the course of action
Rannao Site is a national key cultural relics protection unit, which is an ancient site. Its historical age is from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age
Mogou ancient site, The tombs unearthed at the Mogou site (including the tombs) are mainly Qijia 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 the earliest human settlement found in the southern Gansu region. It is also the westernmost site of the Yangshao and Majiayao cultures discovered in the Tao River Basin. It is of great value for studying the distribution and continuation of the relationship between the three cultures. In the basic burial area, it has high academic value to study the nature of Qi family culture, funeral customs and the origin of class.
Taozhou Acropolis is the largest existing acropolis in China. The city was originally named Houhe City, and being rebuilt in the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534) and renamed Honghe City. In the Ming Dynasty, it was rebuilt as the present Taozhou Acropolis. It was severely damaged in the earthquake in 2013. The city faces south from the north and has a circumference of 5,430 meters. The acropolis’s south side faces the river, the other three sides face the mountains
The Galutian Big House was built in the 32nd year of the Republic of China (1943). The big house is built against the mountain in the traditional local Tibetan style of “no wood on the outside, no soil on the inside”. The front side of big house faces south while the rear side faces north. It is a quadrangle-style two-story building. The layout is similar to that of Tibetan dwellings, but the overall structure is to assume ring shape. There is no other decorations being applied to the exterior, and the raw soil materials and the undulating changes in the building form are fully utilized;
As a historical testimony to the practice of the “Uma” system of Xidaotang, the big house has precious value in the history of Chinese Islam, national culture, regional culture and architectural culture.
Geography and climate
The Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is high in the northwest and low in the southeast, slanting from northwest to southeast and the terrain is intricate.
The Jishi mountain in the southwest, the Xiqin mountain in the northwest, and the Minshan-Dieshan mountain in the south form the main landform of the state. These high mountains winding from west to east and the high plateaus between them constitute the main landform area with an average elevation of more than 3,000 meters in the west, north and south of the state.
The Guazigoukou in Zhouqu County is the lowest point in the territory 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 the 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 the 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 the total population 0.02%; other ethnic minorities account for 0.03%。
Gannan Tibetan Prefecture History
In the Neolithic Age, humans developed this ancient wasteland. The Qiang tribe in Gannan gradually established their own tribal alliance and attached to the Central Plains dynasty.
In Qin Dynasty, some places of Gannan area were already under the jurisdiction of Lintao county.
In the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 8 AD), the eastern part of Gannan belonged to Longxi County and the northern part of Gannan belonged to Jincheng County.
In the period of Three Kingdoms, the eastern part of Gannan belonged to Wei Kingdoms. The south belonged to Shu Kingdom.
In the 7th year of Emperor Yongjia in the Western Jin Dynasty (313 AD), Tuyuhun regime was founded in Nanhan (now “Linxia County”), and Gannan was under the jurisdiction of Tuyuhun. During the period, the Tuyuhun regime opened up the “Southern Silk Road”, which became the main route connecting the Central Plains with Tibet and India.
During the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), Lintao County, Huanhan County, and Dangchang County respectively governed parts of the northwest and southeast of Gannan area
In the 3rd year of Emperor Longshuo (663 AD) of Tang dynasty, Tuyuhun regime was destroyed and Gannan area was occupied by Tubo kingdom. During the Tubo period, the “Tangbo Ancient Road” was developed and passed through Gannan area.
In the 6th year of Emperor Xining in the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 1073), Gannan area was restored to Song Dynasty.
In the 13th century, the Mongolians entered the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and included Gannan area in the territory of the Mongolian Khanate.
The local goverment was established during Yuan dynasty, Gannan area was under the jurisdiction
In the 7th year of Emperor Hongwu of Ming Dynasty (AD 1372), Gannan area was under the jurisdiction of Do Kham
In the early years of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty, the western part of Gannan is under the jurisdiction of Amdo
During the 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, the prefectural capital was moved from Xiahe county to Hecuo Town, and “Hecuo” was renamed as “Hezuo”.
In 1998, the “Hezuo town” was cancelled and a county-level “city” was established, hence, the capital of Gannan prefecture is “Hezuo city”