Xainza County, also known as “Shenza County” OR “Shentsa County“, is a county of Nagqu City.
“Xain” means white and transparent; “Za” means salt, so that “Xainza” means “white salt” in Tibetan
It is located in the southern hinterland of northern Tibet Plateau, between Gangdise Mountains and Selin Tso.
Its total area is of 25,546 square kilometers. Xainza Town, where the county seat is located, is 4,672 meters above sea level. It is 520 kilometers away from Lhasa City and 505 kilometers away from Nagqu City.
Best time to travel
From July to October
Plateau sub-frigid zone semi-arid monsoon climate
Xainza County is a pure animal husbandry county in Nagqu City. It mainly raises yaks, sheep and goats. One of the two largest lake of this county is Geren Tso Lake which covers an area of more than 700 square kilometers.
Another one is Selin Tso lake which is with an area of 1,866 square kilometers that makes it to be the second largest saltwater lake in northern Tibet Plateau and it is also the boundary lake between Xainza County and Baingoin County.
Most popular sites
Xainza Nature Reserve was established in 1993. There are more than 120 species of birds living in the reserve which is the highest and largest black-necked crane reserve and breeding ground in China. The reserve is located in broad lake basin with dense large lakes in south of Qiangtang Inner Flow Area. The altitude of Geren Tso lake is 4650 meters above sea level. The lake water is suitable for growth and reproduction of aquatic organisms and waterfowl, especially the marsh meadow beaches composed of wormwood in low-lying lake area. It is an ideal habitat for black-necked cranes and is one of the 7 existing black-necked crane protection areas in China.
Selintso lake, also known as “Serling Lake”, is the second largest saltwater lake in grasslands of northern Tibet after Namtso lake. It is located at junction of Xainza, Nyima and Baingoin counties with altitude of 4,530 meters, the lake is 72 kilometers long from east to west, with an average width of 23 kilometers, of which the widest in east is 40 kilometers, and the lake area is 1,640 square kilometers. It is the largest inland lake system in Tibet. The lake is 4,530 meters above sea level, and the deepest part is more than 33 meters. In 1985, Selintso lake was listed as a Tibet Autonomous Region-level reserve, and in 2003 it was listed as a national-level nature reserve.
Geography and climate
Xainza County belongs to Great Lake Basin of South Qiangtang Plateau, with a relatively slow terrain. Hills, mountains and basins are alternate. Its south and north are higher, with an average elevation of more than 4800 meters, and the relative height difference between hills and mountains is generally between 300 and 500 meters;
Its central part is slightly lower, about 4700 meters above sea level. The main mountain, Xainza Jiegang, is a branch of Gangdise Mountains, which divides the county into twoparts; Its main peak, Jiagang, is 6444 meters above sea level and is covered with snow all year round.
The rivers in Xainza County are criss-cross, and most of them are centered on the lakes. There are more than 30 large and small lakes. The main rivers are Xainza Tsangbo, Baru Tsangbo and Yongzhu Tsangbo. The main lakes include Selin Tso, Geren Tso, Wuru Tso.
The geological structure of Xainza County is divided into southern Nyainqentanglha magma belt and northern Dahu depression belt. The terrain is tilted from Nyainqentanglha Mountain (5900 meters above sea level) to Selincuo Lake (4530 meters above sea level). The altitude difference reached more than 1,900 meters.
The air in Xainza County is thin, the climate is cold and dry, annual average temperature is 0.4℃, annual average wind speed is 3.8 m/s, and annual average wind speed is 104.3 days. The frost period lasted for 279 days. Annual sunshine hours are 2916 hours and annual precipitation is 299 mm
Population and ethnicity
As of 2015, Xainza County has a total population of 16,400, and Tibetan population accounts for 99% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Han, Mongolian, etc.
Historically, the area of Xainza County belonged to Nacang deba clan,
At the end of 17th century, it was under jurisdiction of Kashag regime
In 12th year of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty (1886 AD), Kashag regime established Xainza Zong, also known as “Nacang Zong”
In 1959, the former Xainza Zong, and Yamudi, Baza, Zhunbu, Talma, and Garong tribes of Dana Lunzhuze, and tribes of Kanpa Tsasang, Xingou, Doba, Capone, Dowa, and Zhuowa of Xietongmen County, were altogether to merge to be Xainza Zong. The total administrative area is 198,000 square kilometers, and it was under jurisdiction of Nagqu prefecture, with county seat of Xainza town
In 1977, 7 districts and 1 communes of Xainza County were divided into two two independent offices of Wenbu and Shuanghu, both of which were directly under leadership of Nagqu Administrative Office.
In 2017, Nagqu Prefecture was abolished, and Nagqu City was established; Xainza County is under jurisdiction of Nagqu City until now