Barkham City is also spelled as “Barkam City” OR “Markam City” in Tibetan, OR “Ma Er Kang” in Chinese Pinyin. It is a county-level city under jurisdiction of Aba (Ngawa) Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is also capital of Aba (Ngawa) prefecture.
Barkham means “a place where flames are thriving” in Tibetan, and it is extended to be understood as a “Prosperous Place.”
It was established on basis of territories of 4 Tusi (chieftains) of Zhuokeji, Songgang, Dangba, and Suomo in the original Jiarong 18 Tusi (chieftains), so it is also called the “Four Tusi (chieftains ) Region”.
Barkham City is located in central part of Aba Prefecture with with elevation of 2,670 meters above sea level. It borders Hongyuan County and Li County to east, Jinchuan County and Xiaojin County to south, Zamthang County to west, and Aba County to north.
It is transportation and trade center of northwest Sichuan province, and also centers of political, cultural, financial, and information of Aba prefecture with distance of 395 kilometers away from provincial capital Chengdu.
Best time to travel From May to October
Local climate Plateau continental monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Kesha Residence is located in Cong’en Village in Chabao District. It is a “Qionglong” style residential building with a height of 7 stories and more than 20 meters. It is a key cultural relic protection unit in Aba Prefecture.
Songgang Zhibo Ancient Tower is a well-preserved and large-scale ancient tower in Aba Prefecture. It consists of two towers with heights of 37 meters and 29 meters, respectively, and is a national key cultural relic protection unit.
Dazang Monastery, also known as “Datsang Monastery“, located in Datsang Township with altitude of 3,530 meters above sea level. Built in 1414 AD, it is head monastery of Gelug pa of Tibetan Buddhism in northern Sichuan province. “Dazang” in Chinese means “Complete Confidence“. Dazang Monastery is honored as the “Second Datsang” (meaning the Second Buddhist Academy). Due to its long history and scale, its status is second only to Ganden Monastery in Lhasa.
Chage Monastery, also known as “Dzago Monastery“, located in Nazu Village of Zhuokeji (Choktse) Town, about 11 kilometers away from Barkham City. It was built in the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty. Its buildings and towers are magnificent, with statues of Ngawang Zaba’s stupa, Master Tsongkhapa
Poling Jiasa Ruins is located in Erya Village in suburb of Barkham. There are 23 old rammed earth-timbered castles, which are about 500 meters long and 100 meters wide, covering an area of 60,000 square meters. This ancient castle rises along the terraces by Somo River, and is distributed in layers to look after both ends; its location is strategically situated and difficult of access with great military value.
Geography and climate
Barkham City is located in eastern of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the northern section of Qionglai Mountains. It belongs to plateau canyon area, and its terrain gradually decreases from northeast to southwest.
It is 134 kilometers from east to west, 90 kilometers from north to south, covering an area of 6,632 square kilometers, which is an irregular rectangle.
Geological structure of Barkham City is complex, and its strata are mostly Triassic sandstone, slate and metamorphic rock. The highest peak is about 5000 meters above sea level, and the lowest valley is about 2300 meters above sea level.
Suomo River enters Barkham City from east and meets Jiaomuzu Rivers at Rejiao village with internal flow of 91 kilometers.
Chabao River originates from Daqingping village in north of Suohemo Township, and flows from east to west joining Jiaomuzu River at longtoutan, which is 67 kilometers long.
Jiaomuzu River (Maerqu River and Caodeng River) originated in Banma County in Qinghai Province, and entered northwest of Barkham City through Aba County. After the confluence of Yukerin Village and Duke River, it flows into Jinchuan County via Dangba village, its total length within Barkham city is of 124 kilometers long
Barkham City belongs to special geography of low latitude and high altitude and the three-dimensional climate of high mountains and valleys.
Winter is dry, summer is humid, sunshine is sufficient, and temperature difference between day and night is large.
Annual average temperature is 8-9℃, annual precipitation is 753 mm, annual average sunshine is more than 2000 hours, and absolute frost-free period is 120 days.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2018, total population of Barkham City is 60,100, of which Tibetans account for 79.7% of total population. There are 14 other ethnic groups including Qiang, Hui and Han…etc
Tibetan living in Barkham City are mainly Jiarong Tibetan. Jiarong is abbreviation of “Jiamocha Rongwarong”, which means the residents living in temperate river valley area around Murdo Mountain.
Its accommodation supply is good to compare other regions of county as to be the capital of Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, the best hotel is 4 star hotel, and there are numerous hostel and guesthouse, the following below are the recommended hotels
How to get there
The closest airport to Barkham city is Hongyuan airport, approximately 128 kilometers Northeast,
Aba Hongyuan Airport (AHJ)
Add: 48 km from Hongyuan county
Contact: +86 837 7735566
Altitude: 3,535 meter
Chengdu Cha Dian Zi Bus Station
Add: No. 289, West 3rd Ring road;
Contact: +86 28 87506610
Altitude: 460 meter above sea level
Address : No. 213, Meigu Street
Phone : +86 837 282-5802
Working Hour : 06:00 am – 21:00 pm
Altitude : 2560 meters
Distance from Barkham to
- To Langmu Si : 400 kilometers, about 6.5 hours’ drive
- To Labrang monastery : 580 kilometers, about 9.5 hours’ drive
- To Aba County: 250 kilometers, about 4.5 hours’ drive
- To Huanglong: 420 kilometers, about 8 hours’ drive
- To Garze (Kanze): 360 kilometers, about 6.5 hours’ drive
- To Serta: 280 kilometers, about 5.5 hours’ drive
In pre-Qin period, Barkham City area was land of Ranlong .
During Qin Dynasty, it belonged to jurisdiction of Jiandi Dao(County)
During Han Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Wenshan County
During Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, it was ruled by local chieftain
During Yuan Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Tubo High Pacification Commissioner’s Office
During Ming Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Zagunao Division
During Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty, it belonged to Lifan Zhili Division
During Emperor Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty, it belonged to Zagunao Zhili Division
During Republic of China, it belonged to Lifan County (Li County).
In 1953, Barkham Office of Tibetan Autonomous Region of Sichuan Province was established.
In 1956, Barkham County was established officially
In 2015, Barkham County was abolished, and Barkham City was officially established