Tongde County, also known as “Kawasumdo County” in Tibetan, is located in southeast of Qinghai Province. It is junction of three Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures of Hainan, Huangnan and Golog of Qinghai province, and under jurisdiction of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Provincial highway Xning-Jiuzhi Highway runs through whole territory from north to south, and Yellow River circulates around this county in a semi-circular loop from east to west.
Best travel time June, July, August and September
Local climate Plateau continental climate
Most popular sites
Rabgya Monastery, Located at foot of Ani Gong Mountain in Lajia Township on north bank of Yellow River in northeastern part of this county, it faces west and Yellow River. There is a bridge on Yellow River linking to west bank. It is the most well-known Gelug pa monastery along Yellow River in Qinghai
Tsanggar Monastery, Located in south east of Tongde county, in Shima area, 12 kilometers east of Hebei Township. It was first built in 30th year of Qianlong (AD 1765) of Qing Dynasty.
Tu’ertan Ruin, Located on south side of Tuanjie Village. It is about 150 meters long from east to west and 80 meters wide from north to south. It was discovered by villagers of Tuanjie Village in mid-1970s and and was excavated by Qinghai Provincial Archaeological Team in 1983. After excavation, it was confirmed to be Ma-jia-yao cultural half-mountain type. In July 1986, it was listed as a provincial key cultural relics protection unit by Qinghai province.
Ruins of Ancient Douhousuo City , Located on north bank of Gaurigan River, about 10 kilometers east of county seat. It is ruin of Tang-wang culture. In 1983, it was listed as a key cultural relics protection unit by local county government.
Tongde County Geography and Climate
Tongde County is located in second bend of nine bends of Yellow River. It is high in southeast, low in northwest and flat in middle, which is a beach grassland. This county has a total area of 4758 square kilometers, the highest elevation in county is 4671 meters, the lowest elevation is 2648 meters, and average elevation is 3660 meters.
County seat is of Kawasumdo Town with altitude of 3060 meters above sea level. It is about 282 kilometers away from Xining and borders with five counties of Guinan County, Zeku County, Henan County, Maqin County and Xinghai County.
Its atmosphere is thin, drought and less rain, long hours of sunshine, strong solar radiation, cool and cold climate, small annual temperature range and large daily range. Spring is dry and windy, summer is short and cool, autumn is wet and rainy, and winter is long and dry. Annual average temperature is 0.4 ℃-0.6 ℃, total annual precipitation is about 430 mm, and there is no absolute frost-free period
Culture and Ethnic Groups
Tongde County is also known as hometown of Zong Ri Culture. With Yellow River as cultural background and Zongri culture as keynote, a large-scale “Zongri Culture and Art Festival” is held every year. Important carrier of Zongri culture is Zongri site which is located near Tuanjie Village. It covers an area of more than 50,000 square meters. It is a Neolithic cultural site discovered earlier, with largest area, and extremely rich content in upper reaches of Yellow River.
County seat of Tongde County is Gabasunduo Town with a permanent population of about 9,000 people. In 2009, this county had a total population of 61,000, ethnic groups such as Han, Tibetan, Hui, Mongolian, Tu, and Salar. Tibetan population accounted for 90% of total population. In 2004, Tongde County was listed as Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve by Qinghai province.
Tongde County Brief History
Tongde County was Xiqiang area in pre-Qin period. It was place where Shaodang Qiang lived at end of Han Dynasty
In last year of Yongjia of Western Jin Dynasty (313 AD), it was an area that Tuyuhun made a lot of moves. In 5th year of Sui Dynasty (AD 609), it belonged to Chishui County.
In 3rd year of Longshuo (AD 663) of Tang Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Tubo and Dushan troop was set up to contend with Tang army.
From Wudai Dynasties (AD 907 – 979) to Song Dynasty (AD 960－1279), it was still under jurisdiction of Tubo kingdom
From 31st year of Yuan Shizu to Yuan Dynasty (1294 AD), it belonged to Linxia City, Gansu Province, and was controlled by Guide.
After 48th year of Shenzong Emperor of Ming Dynasty (AD 1620), it became Mongolian noble Gushi Khan and Shuote pasture.
In 3rd year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (1725 AD), central goverment divided Qinghai Mongolian tribes into 29 tribes. Tongde was Heshuote Middle Banner. It was dominated by Mongolian herdsmen and Mongolian and Tibetans live together. Later, some of Mongolians moved to other places, some were Tibetanized, and later some Tibetan herdsmen moved in from Gannan and northern Sichuan.
At end of Qing Dynasty, some Tibetan herdsmen moved in from Jianzha and Hualong, and ethnic group was mainly Tibetan.
In second year of Republic of China (1913 AD), Guide County was relocated, and Tongde belonged to it.
In 24th year of Republic of China (AD 1935), Guide County was separated and set up as Tongde County, which means “frontiers should serve Central Dehua”, and county government was stationed in Rabgya Monastery.
In July 1950, Tongde Tibetan Autonomous Region was established under Qinghai Province.
In 1953, Tongde Tibetan Autonomous Region was renamed as Tongde County, and under jurisdiction of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture