Markam County, also known as “Markham County“, is located in the easternmost 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.
Markam means “good and wonderful place” in Tibetan. At the end of Qing Dynasty(AD 1616 – AD 1912), 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
Salt wells in Markam County are well-known for its high quality product of Well-salt. There are ancient salt fields and the only Catholic church in this county, called “Yanjing Catholic Church”, which was founded by French missionaries.
Best time to travel
From May to November
Plateau mountain climate
Most popular sites
Salt wells and salt fields are the only places in China 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 east and west banks of Lancang River. It is said that salt production started here before Tang Dynasty(AD 618-AD 907), 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 its primitive production method.
Markam Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkeys National Nature Reserve On January 24th, 2003, Markam Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkeys National Nature Reserve was established with approval of the General Office of State Council. As of May 2018, the number of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys in reserve has increased from the original 500 to more than 1500.
Yanjing Catholic Church is located in Shangyanjing, Markam County, by National Highway No. 214, covering an area of more than 6000 square meters. It was founded by French missionaries in 1855. Eighty percent of villagers in the place where the church is located believe in Catholicism, and a local Tibetan priest presides over the church. Recited and translated “Bible” 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
Average elevation of Mangkang County is 4,317 meters, and Hengduan Mountains run through the county from north to south. 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. Average annual temperature is 10°C, and 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 Jinsha River and 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 end of 2011, the total population of Markam County is 81,000, of which Tibetans accounted for 98% of total population; the remaining ethnic groups include Han, Naxi, Bai, Tujia, Miao and other ethnic groups
According to discovery of Karuo ruin in Chamdo in 1977, which indicates that human activities along Lancang River (within current Markam County) existed as early as Neolithic Age
During the period of Three Kingdoms(220 AD-280 AD), Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties, Markam County was a mixed area of indigenous people and ancient Qiang tribes.
During Sui Dynasty (AD 581-619), the territory of Markam belonged to “White Wolf country”
During Tang Dynasty(AD 618-AD 907), after King Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet (617 AD), the territory of Markam was occupied by Tubo kingdom;
In Yuan Dynasty(AD 1271-AD 1368), Markam belonged to Tubo Itinerant Commandery Marshal Mansion.
In 4th year of Emperor Zhengde of Ming Dynasty (AD 1509), the Naxi people in Lijiang occupied most of Markam, hence Markam became occupied area of Naxi Tusi(Chieftain)
In 15th year of Emperor Chongzhen of Ming Dynasty (AD 1639), Markam was under jurisdiction of Mongolian Heshuote Gushi Khan.
From 5th year of Shunzhi Emperor of Qing Dynasty (AD 1648) to beginning of 4th year of Kangxi Emperor (AD 1665) of Qing Dynasty, the territory of Markam was again governed by Tibet.
From 55th to 59th year (AD 1716-1720) of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty, the territory of Markam was under jurisdiction of Batang county
In 4th year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (AD 1726), Markam was under jurisdiction of Sichuan province
In 21st year of Republic of China (1932), Markam was again under 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 prefecture was abolished, and Chamdo City was established, and Markam County has been under jurisdiction of Chamdo City since then