“Amdo County” is different from “Amdo” which is one of the three ancient Tibetan areas.
Amdo County is the intersection of language and culture. The river is to be called Tsangbo in “U-tsang” area; it is to be called “Qu” Or “Chu” in Do-Kham area. The river in Amdo County is used to be called “Qu” Or “Chu”
It is adjacent to Zhidoi County and Zadoi County of Qinghai Province and Nyainrong County of Tibet to east, Seni District to south, Baingoin County and Shuanghu County to west, and Golmd City to north.
Amdo County is on the main road into Tibet from north, it is the only county between Golmud and Nagqu City. Pana Town, the county seat, is about 4705 meters above sea level.
Best travel time
From July to September
Plateau sub-frigid zone, semi-humid monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Par Gompa is located in Dandui Township about 50 kilometers east of Amdo county. It was built in 1654, and it is the only well-preserved monastery that is composed of tents which are with considerable scale in northern Tibet. This tent-monastery includes Assembly tent, Lakhang tent, Monk’s House Tent, just like other monasteries in other parts of Tibet.
Nyainqentanglha Mountain means “mountain on the plateau” in Tibetan, it is the watershed between the Yangtze River and the Nu River. The mountain is more than 150 kilometers wide, and the altitude is mostly 5000-6000 meters. Geladaindong Peak is the source of Tuotuo River, which is the source of the Yangtze River. The Tanggula pass is 5,231 meters above sea level that is the highest point of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, and also the natural boundary between Qinghai Province and Tibet.
Cuona Lake covers an area of more than 400 square kilometers. It is the source lake of Nu River, with an elevation of 4,594 meters and an area of about 300 square kilometers. It is the highest freshwater lake in Tibet. Cuona Lake is regarded as “holy lake” by local Tibetans. Thousands of believers come to worship every year of Dragon.
To the east of the lake, Qinghai-Tibet Railway runs along Cuona Lake, the nearest is only 20 meters away, and there is also a viewing platform. The lake is rich in aquatic products, attracting black-necked cranes, swans, wild ducks, mandarin ducks and other wildlife and animals. The grassland by the lake is home to Tibetan antelopes and Tibetan gazelle. The rivers and streams in the southern part of Tanggula Mountains first merge into Cuona Lake and then flow into Nu River.
Geography and climate
The terrain of Amdo County belongs to plateau mountain type, which is high in middle & west, and low in north, south, and east.
From 6,604 meters on the main peak of Tanggula Mountain in the middle, it gradually drops to 4704 meters in north of the county and 4,500 meters in south, forming a shape of “Roof”
Tanggula Mountain means “a mountain that an eagle cannot fly over” in Mongolian. The western section of Tanggula Mountain is watershed between inland water system and outflow water system in northern Tibet.
The eastern section is watershed between Indian Ocean water system and Pacific Ocean water system. Nu River, Lancang River and Yangtze River all originate from the northern and southern foothills of Tanggula Mountain.
There are three main water systems in Amdo County: the source water system of Yangtze River, the source water system of Nujiang River and the source water system of Selin Tso. Lakes in the territory are dotted, mainly distributed in southwest of this county.
The air in Amdo County is thin, the temperature difference between day and night is large, the four seasons are unclear, and the weather is snowy.
There is no absolute frost-free period. Annual sunshine hours are 2847 hours and annual precipitation is 435 mm.
Annual average temperature is -2.8°C, the coldest January average temperature is -14.6°C, the hottest July average temperature is 7.8°C, and annual gale days are more than 200 days.
Population and ethnicity
As of end of 2018, Amdo County had a total population of 43,000, of which Tibetan population accounted for 96% of total population, and Han population accounted for 2% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Hui, Kazakh, Manchu, Dong, Bai, Mongolian, Miao, Tujia people, etc.
In ancient times, there were 4 major tribes in Amdo county area
In 1959, the area of Amdo County was under jurisdiction of Nagqu Administrative District
In 1960, Amdo County was established, and its jurisdiction includes eight tribal areas of Amdo of Black River Zong
In 1961, the county seat of Amdo was moved to Pana town
In 1970, Nagqu Administrative District was renamed as Nagqu Prefecture, and then Amdo County was under jurisdiction of Nagqu Prefecture
In 2017, Nagqu Prefecture was abolished, and Nagqu City was established; Amdo County is under the jurisdiction of Nagqu City until now