Qinghai is located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The Yellow River, the Yangtze and the Mekong all originate in Qinghai Province. Places of interest include The Ta'er Lamasery, the Qinghai Lake, the Bird Island.
Area: 720,000 square km
Population: 4.88 million (2005)
Capital City: Xining
GDP (2007): CNY76.1 billion
Average temperature: -18.2oC to -7oC in January, 5oC to 21oC in July.
Mountains: Altun and Qilian Mountains in the north; Kunlun, Hoh Xil, and Qimantag in the west Tanggula, where China's longest river, the Yangtze, has its source, in the southwest; A'nyemaqen and Bayan Har in the southeast, with the 5,464-kilometer Yellow River originating from the latter.
Rivers: Yellow River and tributaries; Tuotuo-Tongtian River, which is the upper reach of the Yangtze River; inland intermittent rivers in the basin.
Lakes: Qinghai Lake, China's largest salt lake with an area of 4,583 square kilometers; Gyaring and Ngoring Lakes, two adjacent fresh water lakes; many smaller lakes, salt lakes, and marshes.
Administrative divisions: 6 autonomous prefectures, 2 cities, 30 counties, and 7 autonomous counties.
Neighboring areas: Gansu and Sichuan Provinces; Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions.
Major cities: Xining, Golmud, Lenghu, Da Qaidam, Yushu, Gonghe, Delingha.
Tourist attractions: Tar Lamasery, 20 kilometers southwest of Xining
JQinghai (Chinese: 青海; pinyin: Qīnghǎi) province is located in Northwest China, named after Qinghai Lake. It borders Gansu on the northeast, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region on the northwest, Sichuan on the southeast, and Tibet Autonomous Region on the southwest.
Geography of Qinghai
Qinghai is located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The Yellow River (Huang He) originates in southern part of the province, while the Yangtze and Mekong have their sources in the southwestern part.
The average elevation of Qinghai is over 3000 meters above sea level. Mountain ranges include the Tanggula Mountains and Kunlun Mountains.
By area, Qinghai is the largest province in China - excluding autonomous regions, which are technically not provinces; but if they were, Xinjiang would be the largest.
Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor) is the largest salt water lake in the People's Republic of China.
Qaidam basin lies in northwestern Qinghai. About a third of this resource rich basin is desert. The basin has an altitude between 3000 to 3500 meters.
The Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR), also referred to as the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve, or the Three Rivers Nature Reserve, is the area of Qinghai province, PRC which contains the headwaters of the Yellow River (Huang He), the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), and the Mekong River (Lancang Jiang). The SNNR was established to protect the headwaters of these three rivers. The reserve consists of 18 subareas, each containing three zones which are managed with differing degrees of strictness.
Climate of Qinghai
Its average temperature is approximately -5 to 8°C, with January temperatures ranging from -18 to -7°C and July temperatures ranging from 15 to 21°C. It is also prone to heavy winds as well as sandstorms from February to April.
Economy of Qinghai
Qinghai's economy is amongst the smallest in all of China. Its nominal GDP for 2009 was just 108.1 billion RMB (US$15.8 billion) and contributes to about 0.3% of the entire country's economy. Per capita GDP was 19,407 RMB (US$2,841).
Its heavy industry includes iron and steel production, located near its capital city of Xining. Oil and natural gas from the Chaidamu Basin have also been an important contributor to the economy.
History of Qinghai
The area known today as Qinghai was under the control of the Han kingdom about 2000 years ago. A large part of its area, until the early 20th century most often referred to by its Mongol name Kokonur in English, lies outside of China proper and has been an ethnic melting pot for centuries, mixing Tibetan, Han Chinese, Mongol, and Turkic influences. It was a battleground during the Tang and subsequent Chinese dynasties when they fought against successive Tibetan tribes. Qinghai was also under Ming dynasty control during early time of the Ming, but later plagued with unrest.
The Xunhua Salar Autonomous County is where the Salar people live in Qinghai. The Salars voluntarily joined the Ming Dynasty. The Salar clan leaders each capitulated to the Ming Dynasty around 1370. The chief of the four upper clans around this time was Han Pao-yuan and Ming granted him office of centurion, it was at this time the people of his four clans took Han as their surname. The other chief Han Shan-pa of the four lower Salar clans got the same office from Ming, and his clans were the ones who took Ma as their surname.
From the late Ming to 1724, a big part of the area that is now Qinghai was under Khoshod Mongol control, but in that year it was conquered by the armies of the Qing Dynasty. Following the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, the region came under local warlord control until the Northern Expedition by the Republic of China consolidated central control in 1928. Subsequently it became the primary base for Muslim warlord Ma Bufang, before the Chinese Civil War ended and the People's Republic of China established with control over Qinghai and most of the rest of mainland China in 1949.
Qinghai is administratively divided into one prefecture-level city, one prefecture, and six autonomous prefectures:
# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat
— Prefecture-level city —
3 Xining 西宁市 Xīníng Shì Chengzhong District
— Prefecture —
4 Haidong 海东地区 Hǎidōng Dìqū Ping'an County
— Autonomous prefecture —
1 Haixi (Mongol & Tibetan) 海西蒙古族藏族自治州 Hǎixī Měnggǔzú Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Delingha
2 Haibei (Tibetan) 海北藏族自治州 Hǎiběi Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Haiyan County
5 Hainan (Tibetan) 海南藏族自治州 Hǎinán Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Gonghe County
6 Huangnan (Tibetan) 黄南藏族自治州 Huángnán Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Tongren County
7 Yushu (Tibetan) 玉树藏族自治州 Yùshù Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Yushu County
8 Golog (Tibetan) 果洛藏族自治州 Guǒluò Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu Maqên County
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Qinghai
The Chinese province of Qinghai is a desolate mountain country that serves as a domain of nomadic Tibetan herders, hospitable Buddist monks, and a seemingly endless number of sheep and yaks. Qinghai is also characterized by frigid temperatures, snow-covered roads, and treacherously icy rivers. It is the kingdom of mountains with the Kunlun Mountain Range, the "Roof of Asia", and the Qilian Mountain. Some major rivers, such as the Yangtze River and the Yellow River, rise in the Qinghai Province.
Lakes and marsh swamps on the plateau have their own beauty with abundant wild life inhahitants. The Bird Island in Qinghai Lake serves as a good example, and wild antelope, yak, donkeys, camels, lynx, deer and pheasant roam freely over the vast grasslands. Qinghai has picturesque snow-capped mountains and glaciers with many historical relics and legends left over from the ancient path linking the Tang Dynasty and Tibet. There are many temples in Qinghai and its various religious arts and activities are well known around the world. The highway to Lhasa is asphalted and is the highest highway in the world. The different ethic groups make up a diversified folk customs.
The Ta'er Lamasery
Capital city, Xining (Western Peace), has large lamaseries and mosques to offer. The Ta'er Lamasery is located in Huangzhong County and is one of China's six largest lamaseries of the Yellow sect. Built in 1560 AD, the lamasery combines Han and Tibetan arts and consists of the Great Temple of Golden Tile, the Lesser Temple of Golden Tile, the Great Meditation Hall, the Nine-Room Hall and more. The lamasery contains more than 20,000 religious paintings and embroideries, and its butter sculptures, murals, and appliques are known as "the three wonders of Ta'er" and have unique styles and great artistic value. The Dongguan Mosque, one of the biggest in Northwest China, was built in 1380.
Qinghai Lake, or "Green Lake", is China's biggest salt-water lake with a circumference of more than 360 kilometers and an area of 4,635 square kilometers. It lies in the northeast part of the province and is 130 kilometers from Xining and is 3196 meters above sea level. The lake contains 6 percent salt and has an average depth of 19 meters, while its deepest spot is 30 meters. Many fish swim freely in Qinghai Lake's cold waters. Major sights around the lake are Bird Island, Haixin Hill, Haixi Hill, Sankuaishi (Three stones) and Sand Island.
The 800,000 square meter Bird Island is located northwest of Qinghai Lake, 350 kilometers from Xining. A bird sanctuary, the island attracts 100,000 migrating birds of different species each summer and autumn. A shortage of rain in recent years has caused a drop in water and has made the island a peninsula. This "Kingdom of Birds" has become a natural reserve.
Golmud, a new city in the Gobi desert, is 800 kilometers from Xining. Between the two cities is the Salt Bridge and Salt Pond. The bridge is built entirely of salt.