Guinan County, also known as “Mangra (Mangla) County“, is a county in eastern part of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. It covers an area of 6,693 square kilometers. It has a vast terrain, magnificent scenery and a wide variety of biological species.
Guinan County is adjacent to Zeku County to east, Tongde County to south, Xinghai County and Gonghe County to west, and Guide County to north. Longyangxia Reservoir, the largest reservoir in upper reaches of Yellow River, is built at junction of Gonghe County and northern of Guinan county
Best travel time: From May to September
Local climate: Plateau continental climate
Most popular sites
Tarshul Gompa It is located in Horseshoe shaped Valley surrounded by green mountains on three sides some 15 kilometers from Guinan county; There are more than 30 statues of Sakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Maitreya Buddha. Among them, a 4-foot-high statue of Sakyamuni is the most precious. It is said that this statue has remains of bones of Bodhisattva Gadgadasvara on its chest, and there is a natural image of Avalokitesvara on bone. In addition, Tarshul Gompa also houses 3 Tripitaka, and more than a thousand masterpieces by eminent monks in Buddhism, as well as numerous gold and silver artifacts and other Buddhist supplies;
Lutsang Gompa also known as “Lu Gonpa“, its full name is “Lutsang Gon Shedrub Gepeling“; Located at foot of Hamairi Mountain, about 2 kilometers northwest of Mangla township, it is administratively under jurisdiction of Senduo Township. There are 955 houses in this gompa, among which main buildings are 1 assembly hall called “Qia Dangma”, 1 main hall of “Lhakang Sai Dangma” and 1 “Rushze Lhakang” hall. It was demolished during “Cultural Revolution” in 1960s’ of 20th century, and being reopened in 1981. Now there are 15 sutra halls were rebuilt, and 87 monks’ houses; There are now about 90 monks including one living Buddha
Tuli Monastery This is fusion of Tibetan and Han monastery. It was built by believers from both Tibetan and Chinese in 1916. In 2005, Tuo Le Monastery was rebuilt. There are currently more than 600 monks.
Cayo Cultural Site Cayo culture was named after it was first discovered in Cayo Village, Huangzhong District in 1923. “Cayo” is Tibetan, it means flat land in front of mountain pass. Cayo culture is an aboriginal culture with the largest number and the widest distribution among various ancient cultural sites in Qinghai Province.
Geography and Climate
Guinan County belongs to Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, accounting for approximately 14.45% of total area of prefecture. It is located in northeastern of Qinghai Province, between Xiqin Mountains and Yellow River which is in transition zone from edge of Qilian Mountains to Kunlun Mountains. It is also eastern extension of Qaidam block-Gonghe Basin.
Its southern part is of fold plateau of Xiqin mountain. Zhihai Mountain is the highest peak, with an altitude of 5,011 meters. Central part is Yellow River Valley plain, which is open and flat, and Mugetan Desert covers an area of 1.12 million mu. It is a typical inland desert, with continuous sand dunes and little pasture. Its terraces and valleys formed by cutting and erosion of Yellow River and its tributaries, Shagou River and Mangla River are wide or narrow and relatively flat; Laxiwa Yellow River in north is at an elevation of 2,222 meters, which is the lowest point in Guinan county. Most areas are between 2,150 meters and 4,500 meters above sea level. Scattered distribution of mountains, beaches and valleys are characteristic of Guinan’s topography.
Guinan County is with long winters and short summers. There is no severe cold in winter and intense heat in summer, which is suitable for development of grassland animal husbandry. The annual average temperature is 2.3℃, the annual extreme maximum temperature is 31.8℃, the annual extreme minimum temperature is -29.2℃, annual precipitation is 403.8 mm, and annual average sunshine hours is 2910 hours; its temperature is low, sunshine is long, radiation is strong, and precipitation is concentrated. Rain and heat are in same season, but there is insufficient precipitation and large evaporation.
Guinan County Ethnic groups
Guinan County is a multi-ethnic settlement area dominated by Tibetans, with 12 ethnic groups including Tibetan, Han, Mongolian, Hui, Tu, and Salar.
As of 2006, Guinan’s population was 70,000, of which 94% were Tibetans.
As of 2005, population density of county did not exceed 11 people per square kilometer.
Guinan County Custom and Festival
Usually, a Tibetan woman living in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has a three-piece braid that made of leather and cloth (called Jialong in Tibetan) on her back, which is covered with jewelry such as silver shields, silver medals or shell corals.
The red thread is used as ear, which could even reach to foot. Embroidery pattern on hair cover varies according to customs of different regions, mainly Eight treasures, hundred knots, flowers, animals, moire, etc.
Three major festivals are held every year, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Mawlid
At end of 3rd century AD, various tribes of Qiang people in Guinan belonged to Tuyuhun Kingdom.
During Qin and Han dynasties, Qiang people’s pastoral land was for Shaodang. During 16 Kingdoms Period of Eastern Jin Dynasty, Guinan was called Shazhou.
Southern Song, Qi, and Liang dynasties officially called Tuyuhun “the Kingdom of River South”.
In 5th year of Sui Dynasty (AD 609), Guinan area was under jurisdiction of Chishui County after Sui Army defeated Tuyuhun.
In Tang Dynasty, it was once under control of Tubo. In 12th year of Tianbao of Tang Dynasty (AD 753), Zhuohe County was established in Guide, and Guinan was under its jurisdiction. In order to consolidate its territory, goverment of Tang dynasty set up Jin-Tian troops in area of Longyangxia, Wu-Ning troops in area of Guo-ma-ying, and Wei-Sheng troops in area of Sha-gou.
After 5th year of Huizong Chongning of Northern Song Dynasty(AD 1106), its land was occupied by Jin dynasty again.
In 7th year of Emperor Gaozong of Southern Song Dynasty in Shaoxing (1137), Jin dynasty ceded land of Guinan to Xixia for 10 years.
In the first year of Baoyou Lizong of Southern Song Dynasty ( 3rd year of Mongolian Menggehan, 1253 AD), Mongol Empire set up Tubo Mansion in Hezhou (now Linxia, Gansu). Guinan area was under its jurisdiction.
In 8th year of Hongwu of Ming Dynasty (AD 1375), Yuangui Dezhou was renamed Guide Guard Thousand Households, and Guinan was under its jurisdiction.
In 57th year of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (AD 1792), Guide Office was changed to Guide Hall, which was under jurisdiction of Xining Mansion. Today, Guinan was still under jurisdiction of Guide Hall.
In 2nd year of Republic of China (1913), Lucang administrative district was established in Guinan today.
In 1953, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Region was established and renamed as Prefecture in December in same year; Guinan is one of five counties of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.