Maqu County, also known as “Machu County“, is located in the southwest of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, on the eastern end of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is at the junction of Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan provinces. “Maqu” means “Peacock River” in Tibetan language, which also means the “Yellow River”. Maqu County is the only county in China that is named after the Yellow River.
The Yellow River descends from the Bayan Har Mountains to the east, forming a 433 kilometers long “bend” in Maqu County, which is regarded as the “1st bend of Yellow River”; and there is the bridge being built at a distance of 4km from the county, which is regarded as the “1st bridge” on the upper reaches of the Yellow River.
Maqu County borders Luqu County to the east and Zoige County of Sichuan Province to the southeast, it is also adjacent to Aba County of Sichuan Province in the south, Jiuzhi County, Gade County and Maqin County of Qinghai Province in the west, and Henan Mongolian Autonomous County of Qinghai Province in the north. The county seat is Nima (Dzoge Nyima) Town. It covers an area of 10190 square kilometers with average elevation of 3700 meters. Maqu was an area of the ancient Qiang ethnic group. It became a nomadic land of Tibetans after Tubo kingdom occupied the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in 663 AD.
Best travel time from June to August
Local climate high cold and humid type, long winter without summer, severe cold weather
Most popular sites
Dzoge Nyima Gompa, It is one of Gelug pa monasteries. It is the earliest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Maqu County and one of the 108 monasteries belonging to the Labrang monastery.
Niantu monastery, also known as “Gongtang Zimchung“, belongs to the Gelug pa of Tibetan Buddhism. The construction began in AD 1777. The first part was completed after 4 years. The building of the second part was activated in 1900. After 4 years, the great assemblly hall and “Nangqian” were completed. In 1929, there were about 350 monks in the monastery, and the monastery rules were implemented in accordance with the Labrang Monastery.
The First Bridge of the Yellow River is located 4 kilometers away from the county seat. It is the first bridge built in Maqu on the upper reaches of the Yellow River in 1979. The bridge is 280 meters long and 7.5 meters wide. Sunrise view of the First Bridge on the Yellow River is unqiue view that is to stand on the west side of the bridge in the early morning, when the sun rises to the arch, it looks like the arch of bridge holds up the sun, which is quite spectacular.
Geography and climate
Amnye Marchen Mountain traverses the middle of Maqu County from west to east.Xiqing mountain stretches from north to south into the northern part of the county, forming a terrain that is high in the northwest, low in the southeast, and gradually decreasing from northwest to southeast.
The elevation in the territory is between 3,500 and 3,800 meters, the southeast is the second terrace of the Yellow River, and the surface is flat
Its climate is an obvious plateau continental alpine humid zone, with high cold and windy, rainy, and snowy, no four seasons, only cold and warm seasons. The cold season lasts for 300 days, long and cold; the warm season is short and mild. Concentrated rain, sufficient sunshine, strong radiation, and no absolute frost-free period. Annual average temperature 1.2℃
Population and ethnic group
As of the end of 2017, the total population of the county was 57,900, including Tibetan, Hui, Dongxiang, Tu, Baoan, Manchu, Mongolian, Salar and other ethnic groups. The Tibetan population accounts for the majority.
In ancient time, Maqu area was part of Qiang ethnic group
During the period of Chun, Qiu and Warring State, the descendants of the Dong family had developed into many tribes in Maqu area
In Qin dynasty, Maqu area was still under Dong family’s control.
During the Three Kingdoms, Maqu area belonged to the Mitang Qiang tribe.
During the Jin dynasty, Southern and Northern Dynasty, Maqu area was occupied by Dangxiang Miyao tribe.
During the Sui Dynasty, Maqu area was under the jurisdiction of Heyuan Count
In Tang Dynasty, Maqu area was occupied by Tubo kingdom
During Song dynasty, Yuan dynasty and Ming dynasty, it was under the jurisdiction of Do Kham
In Qing dynasty, Maqu area was under the jurisdiction of Do me (Amdo)
In the 24th year of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty (AD 1898), Maqu area was under the jurisdiction of Labrang Monastery.
In the 17th year of the Republic of China (AD 1928), it belonged to Xiahe County, Gansu Province, but its decree can only be implemented in all parts of Maqu area through the Labrang Monastery.
In 1949, it became the 7th district of Xiahe County.
In 1955, the county was approved to be established and to be under the jurisdiction of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
In 1959, Maqu county and Luqu conuty were merged to form Taojiang County;
In 1962, Taojiang County was abolished, and Maqu and Luqu counties were restored.