Maqin County, also known as “Machen County” OR “Maqen County” in Tibetan, is a national “Three Rivers Source” ecological protection area.
It is located in mountains and valleys area of upper reaches of Yellow River on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southeast of Qinghai Province. Maqin County is a large animal husbandry county with a large area of pastures.
It has a total area of 13,460 square kilometers, of which 1.175 million hectares of pastures. Maqin has a typical plateau and mountainous areas with an average elevation of more than 4,100 meters. Maqin county seat is Dawu (Tawu) Town with altitude 3719 meters, about 546 kilometers from Xining; 561 kilometers from Yushu City
Best travel time
From June to October
Continental plateau climate
Most popular sites
Mt Amnye Marchen is a branch of Kunlun Mountains. It is located in northwest of Maqin County, approximately 86 kilometers away from Dawu Town. One of peaks that is open to climbers.
White Pagoda is located at intersection of Yinke River in Xueshan Township, about 3650 meters above sea level. In hall on back of White Pagoda, murals (Thangka) were painted on surrounding walls, telling legends of Mt Amnye Marchen.
Yangyu virgin forests are mainly distributed in valleys on south bank of Yellow River in Rabgya, Dawu, Dongqing valley, Xueshan Township. Its forest area is about 799 square kilometers. In forest, there are more than 600 species of forage grass, wild medicinal materials, such as Qinghai Yunbin, Qilian Juniper, White Birch, Green Poplar, Plateau Willow, and Seabuckthorn. There are also dozens of rare animals such as White-lipped Deer and Fragrant Deer. Perigee of forest area is 35 kilometers north from Dawu Town along Gequ River, and highway leads directly to forests.
Geography and Climate
Maqin County is adjacent to Maqu County of Gansu Province to east, Henan County to northeast, Tongde County and Xinghai County to north, and Madoi County and Darlag County to west , Adjacent to Gade County to south.
Northwest and north of Maqin county are surrounded by high mountains, and stone mountain range stretches across whole territory. Amnye Marchen Mountain runs to north, and mountain range is from northwest to southeast. High mountains over 4500 meters above sea level are mostly formed by erosion, with bare rocks, bedrock and metamorphic rock, mainly composed of clastic rocks with alternating thicknesses, and strong cold weathering, which is a frost-eroded terrain.
Valleys are widely distributed in this county, with an altitude of 2900-3600 meters. Some valleys are narrow, some are wide and flat. Surface water is much, groundwater level is high, soil is often in a seasonal or long-term stagnant state, presenting an aerobic environment, with weak microbial activity and obvious accumulation of organic matter, forming a swamp.
Maqin County has a continental cold climate with great differences between east and west. Its northwestern is cold and humid, and southeast part gradually changes from cold temperature to cold and humidity. Annual average temperature is -3.8 to 3.5℃, temperature is low, and daily temperature difference is large.
Annual precipitation is between 423-565 mm, mostly in June-September. Annual sunshine time is 2313-2607 hours, which is 45% -63% relative to sunshine. There are no obvious four seasons in a year, and winter is cold and long, lasting as long as eight or nine months.
Spring is dry and windy. Summer and autumn are short and rainy, often accompanied by heavy rain and hail. Except for frost-free period of 80-95 days in all parts of Yellow River in Rabgya Town, there is no absolute frost-free period in other areas.
Population and Ethnic groups
As of 2018, total population is nearly 60,000 people, of which Tibetans account for 83% of total population; Maqin is dominated by Tibetans, as well as Han, Hui, Salar, Tu, Mongolian and other ethnic minorities
In dynasties of Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, it was grazing land of Dangxiang of Qiang people
In Tang dynasty, it was firstly set district governed by Tang dynasty
In Yuan dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Tubo kingdom
In Ming dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Shuote Mongolian regime, and be included in land of Kham
In Qing Dynasty, it was pastoral land of Upper & Middle Guo-luo-ke tribes
In 24th year of Republic of China (1935), it was territory of Golog Administrative Inspectorate.
In 29th year of Republic of China (1940), it was under juristiction of Xi-Le Administration
In 1957, Maqin County was established