Golmud is also spelled as “Ge’ermu” in Chinese Pinyin , or “Kermo County” in Mogolian, with meaning of “A place where rivers gather” in Tibetan
Golmud is 450 kilometers long from east to west, 225 kilometers wide from north to south, and has an area of 71414 square kilometers.
It is located in west of Qinghai Province and hinterland of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is 3rd largest city in Qinghai. It is also a strategic fortress connecting Tibet, Xinjiang, Gansu and a transportation hub in western China. The three main highways of Qinghai-Tibet, Qinghai-Xinjiang and Dunhuang-Golmud meet here ;
Nearly 90% of the county’s land belongs to desert or gobi. Chaerhan Salt Lake, Kunlun Mountain Pass, and Golmud Populus euphratica forest, all of which are spectacular and beautiful. Unlike Gobi in remote areas, urban area of Golmud is an oasis in vast Gobi. The city is lined with trees and flowers, and suburban farmland is verdant and trees lined. Its total area is nearly 120,000 square kilometers.
Best time to travel
From June to September
Continental plateau climate
Most popular sites
Yangtze River Source Yangtze River originates from glacier on southwest side of Gladandong Ice Peak, which is the main peak of Tanggula Mountain, with an elevation of 6548 meters, and being divided into two semi-arc glaciers in north and south. The source of Yangtze River also contains resources such as crystal stone, pyrite, lead-zinc mine, plateau naked carp, and snow chicken.
The pond of Lady Queen Mother of the West It is a natural plateau lake, a sacred lake worshipped by Taoist believers. It is 250 kilometers away from Golmud city, with an altitude of more than 4,300 meters, a length of about 12,000 meters from east to west, a width of about 5,000 meters from north to south, and an area of more than 60 square kilometers.
Chaerhan Salt Lake is located in south-central part of Qaidam Basin in Qinghai. Covering an area of 5,856 square kilometers, it is the largest potassium-magnesium salt deposit in China. There are several peculiar lakes in Chaerhan Salt Lake, one by one, forming a rare “lake in lake”. The Wonderful Salt Bridge of Chaerhan Salt Lake is a flat and wide road built on salt lake. This Salt bridge is unique in shape and distinctive. It has neither piers nor railings. They are all built with salt and are known as “Wanzhang Salt Bridge”. The salt road is smooth and flat, no different from asphalt road. Potholes appear on pavement, which can be filled with brine.
Tanggula Mountain Pass is boundary between Qinghai and Tibet, with an altitude of about 5,231 meters, and it is the highest point of Qinghai-Tibet Highway. It is 600 kilometers away from Golmud City. There is a monument for soldiers of People’s Liberation Army who dedicated themselves to the construction of Qinghai-Tibet Highway, and another monument to altitude. Tanggula Pass is the best place to enjoy view of Tanggula Mountain
Geography and Climate
Urban area of Golmud City is located on alluvial plain of Golmud River in south-central Qaidam Basin, with an average elevation of 2780 meters. The entire jurisdiction is composed of two unconnected areas, Qaidam Basin area and Tanggula Mountain area.
Tanggula Mountain area is located in southwest of Qaidam Basin, bordering Tibet Autonomous Region in south and southwest, and adjacent to Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in east and north. It is 425 kilometers away from the downtown area of Golmud
Golmud’s average temperature in winter is around -6.5℃, and average temperature in summer is around 17.5℃;
The average temperature in Tanggula Mountain in winter is around -15℃, and average temperature in summer is around 7℃. The amount of precipitation is small, rain and heat are in same season, and distribution of precipitation varies greatly with space.
The annual precipitation in Tanggula Mountain area is about 10 times that of Qaidam Basin; overall distribution trend of precipitation in Qaidam Basin is gradually decreasing from east to west. The annual sunshine hours are at most 3266 hours in basin area and at least 2553 hours; in Tanggula Mountain area, the maximum is about 3212 hours. The minimum is 2766 hours.
The annual average wind speed in urban area of Golmud is 2.4 m/s and maximum wind speed is 24.7 m/s; annual average wind speed of Tuotuo River is 4.0 m/s and maximum wind speed is 32.4 m/s.
The frost-free period in Qaidam Basin area is significantly longer than that in Tanggula Mountain area, about 200 days; frost-free period in Tanggula Mountain area is only about 20 days.
Population and ethnic groups
As of 2017, total population of Golmud City was 137,570. Among permanent population, Han population accounted for 70%; ethnic groups accounted for 30%. other ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Hui, Tu, Salar people…etc,
In ancient times, it was a region of local nomad ethnic group.
At end of Western Jin Dynasty, it was land of Tuyuhun regime
In AD 663, it became a land of Tubo kingdom, after Tuyuhun regime was destroyed by Tubo army
In the middle of 13th century, Golmud area was under juristiction of Yuan Dynasty
In AD 1725, Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty, Golmud area was under juristiction of Qing Dynasty
After establishment of Republic of China, it was under administration of Dulan county
In 1956, Golmud Working Committee was established as a county-level leading organization.
In 1960, Golmud Working Committee was abolished and Golmud City was established.
In 1966, it was changed to Golmud County.
In 1980, Golmud City was officially established