Qilian County is also known as “Chilen County“. “Qilian” is Huns language. Huns call “sky” “Qilian”, and Qilian Mountain means “Sky Mountain”. It belongs to Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province.
It is about 285 km from Xining City. It is named because it is located in middle section of Qilian Mountains, it is adjacent to Hexi Corridor of Gansu, which is main passage of Silk Road in north. It is also an important resource-rich area in Qinghai Province. Diversified mineral resources make it a key county for resource development in Qinghai Province.
Best time to travel
From June to September
Plateau continental climate
Most popular sites
Heihe Grand Canyon 800-kilometer long grand canyon has an average elevation of more than 4,200 meters, of which 70 kilometers are “no man’s land.” There are more than 800 glaciers in canyon, covering an area of more than 300 square kilometers. Heihe River that traverses canyon is second largest inland river in China. It flows through three provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Inner Mongolia and is known as “Mother River of Hexi Corridor”
Arik Monastery is also known as “Arik Gonchen Ganden Chopeling”. It is 21 kilometers southeast of Babao Town. Arik Monastery was built during Shunzhi period of Qing Dynasty and it is the largest Gelug monastery in Qilian County. Arik Monastery is located on a hilly grassland, surrounding green grassland is rolling, very beautiful
Geography and Climate
Qilian County is located in northeast of Qinghai Province. county’s land area is 14,000 square kilometers. Average elevation in this territory is 3169 meters, and county seat is 2787 meters above sea level. Annual average temperature of Qilian County is 1℃, and annual precipitation is about 420 mm. It is a typical plateau continental climate.
Due to influence of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau on atmospheric circulation, humid air from southeast monsoon in summer can extend northward and westward and spread to this area;
In winter, affected by dry and cold air in Inner Mongolia and cold air currents in northwest, temperature in this area is greatly reduced in winter. Annual temperature varies greatly.
Population and ethnic groups
As of 2013, Qilian County has a total population of 50,000, including 15 ethnic groups including Han, Tibetan, Hui, Mongolian, and Salar, among which ethnic minorities account for 79% of total population.
Before Han Dynasty, Qilian was nomad’s area.
During Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, it successively became former Qin, Qianliang, Houliang, Nanliang, Western Qin, Beiliang and other places of separatist regimes and Tuyuhun territory.
In Sui Dynasty (AD 581 – AD 618), Qilian was under jurisdiction of Xihai County.
In period of Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasty, Qilian was part of Tubo kingdom, and later Tubo, Xi-xia and Song dynasties alternately ruled.
In Yuan Dynasty, Qilian was under jurisdiction of Tubo kingdom.
In Ming Dynasty, Qilian was under jurisdiction of Mongolian power
In 26th year of Emperor Qianlong (1761) of Qing Dynasty, eastern Qilian belonged to Datong County, and the rest was under administration of Xining.
In 17th year of Republic of China (1929), Qilian was under jurisdiction of Menyuan County
In 1953, Qilian County was established