Markam County, also known as “Markham County“, is located in the easternmost part of Chamdo City. It is at the intersection of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. The county seat of Gatuo Town is about 3880 meters above sea level. It is adjacent to Sichuan Province and Yunnan Province and is the link between Tibet and Southwest China. The main road is also the first stop of the “Ancient Tea Horse Trading Route” in Tibet.
It faces Batang County in Garze Tibetan Prefecture across the Jinsha River in the east, Deqin County in Yunnan Province in the south, Zogang County in the west, and Gonjo County and Zhagyab county in the north.
Markam means “good and wonderful place” in Tibetan. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, it was part of Ning-jing County, and it was later reformed and renamed as Markam Zong (that is, Jiangka Zong). In 1960, it merged with Yanjing Zong and again renamed as “Ningjing County”. In 1965, it was renamed Markam County
The salt wells in Markam County are famous for producing well salt. There are ancient salt fields and the only Catholic church in the Tibet Autonomous Region, called “Yanjing Catholic Church”, which was founded by French missionaries.
Best time to travel May-November
Local climate plateau mountain climate
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Salt wells and salt fields are the only places in the world where the most primitive hand-dried salt method is completely maintained. It is 120 kilometers away from Markam County and all of those are located on the east and west banks of the Lancang River. It is said that salt production started here before the Tang Dynasty, and it is probably with a history of more than 1,300 years. There are currently still two townships producing salt in Yanjing, Naxi Township and Quzika Township. There are more than 320 households engaged in salt production and more than 2,700 salt fields. The salt industry of Yanjing still maintains the primitive production method.
Markam Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkeys National Nature Reserve On January 24th, 2003, the Markam Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkeys National Nature Reserve was established with the approval of the General Office of the State Council. As of May 2018, the number of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys in the reserve has increased from the original 500 to more than 1500.
Yanjing Catholic Church is located in Shangyanjing, Markam County, by the National Highway 214, covering an area of more than 6000 square meters. It was founded by French missionaries in 1855. Eighty percent of the villagers in the place where the church is located believe in Catholicism, and a local Tibetan priest presides over the church. Recite the “Bible” translated into Tibetan. Believers are named by priests, whose names are mostly similar to those of Europeans. Funerals are also buried in accordance with Catholic rituals. It is the only Catholic church in Tibet.
Geography and climate
Markam County is located in the east of Tibet Autonomous Region and the southeast of Chamdo. The total area is 11,431 square kilometers.
The average elevation of Mangkang County is 4,317 meters, and the Hengduan Mountains run through the county from north to south. The Ning-jing mountain range is the main mountain range in the territory, which runs from north to south.
Markam County is with humid weather in summers and cold and dry of winter. The average annual temperature is 10°C, and the average annual precipitation is 350-450 mm, the precipitation is mainly from June to September, with a frost-free period of 95 days.
The main rivers in Markam County are Jinsha River, Lancang River and more than 70 tributaries of the two rivers. The total length of the Jinsha River and the Lancang River is 1,661 kilometers, with a drainage area of 250 square kilometers. The main lake is Mangtso lake.
Population and ethnicity
As of the end of 2011, the total population of Markam County is 81,000, of which Tibetans accounted for 98% of the total population; the remaining ethnic groups include Han, Naxi, Bai, Tujia, Miao and other ethnic groups
According to the discovery of the Karuo site in Qamdo in 1977, it indicates that human activities along the Lancang River (within current Markam County )existed as early as the “Neolithic Age”.
During the Three Kingdoms, Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties, Markam County was a mixed area of indigenous people and ancient Qiang tribes.
During the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-619), the territory of Markam belonged to the White Wolf country.
During the Tang Dynasty, after King Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet (617 AD), the territory of Markam was occupied by Tubo kingdom;
In the Yuan Dynasty, Markam belonged to Tubo Itinerant Commandery Marshal Mansion.
In the four years of Emperor Zhengde of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1509), the Naxi people in Lijiang occupied most of Markam, hence Markam became the occupied area of the Naxi people.
In the fifteenth year of Emperor Chongzhen of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1639), Markam was under jurisdiction of Mongolian Heshuote Gushi Khan.
From the fifth year of Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1648) to the beginning of the fourth year of Kangxi Emperor (AD 1665), the territory of Markam was again governed by Tibet.
From the fifty-fifth to fifty-ninth years (AD 1716-1720) of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty, the territory of Markam was under jurisdiction of Batang county
In the fourth year of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1726), Markam was under the jurisdiction of Sichuan province
In the 21st year of the Republic of China (1932), Markam was again under the jurisdiction of Tibet.
In 1956, Ning-jing and Yanjing County were formally established.
In 1960, Ning-jing County and Yanjing County were merged to be Ning-jing County
In 1965, Ning-jing County was renamed Markam County
In 2014, Chamdo withdrew its prefecture and The “Chamdo City” was officially established, and Lhorong County is under the jurisdiction of Chamdo City ever since