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Ma’erkang City

Ma'erkang (Barkam), in the Tibetan language meaning "a place lit by yak-butter lamp", has an extended meaning of "the land of prosperity". The city gained its name from the nearby Ma'erkang Monastery. Ma'erkang is where the prefecture government of A'ba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture is located, which is also the political, cultural, and financial and information center of the entire prefecture.

Ma’erkang City

Ma'erkang City is located in the southern margin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the northwestern part of the Sichuan Basin, on the north adjacent to Aba and Hongyuan Prairie, while on the south close to the Wolong Nature Reserve and Mt. Siguniang in Xiaojin County. It lies 365 km away from the provincial capital Chengdu. The whole county covers an area of 6633 square kilometer. Within the territory, 15 ethnic groups including Tibetan, Qiang, Hui and Han People are living. The entire population is 55,000, among which 39175 are Tibetan, accounting for 71.91%. The county belongs to the plateau area, with its terrain gradually decline from the northeast to the southwest. The elevation is between 2180 and 5301 meter, a plateau monsoon climate, featuring "a dry winter, a wet summer, rain and heat sharing the same season, abundant sunshine and huge temperature difference between day and night".

Ma’erkang City

Ma'erkang boasts rich natural and cultural tourism resources and is the core area of the Jiarong Tibetan Region. After a long period of integration among different ethnic groups a distinctive Jiarong Tibetan local customs and practices have been formed. As the decline and fall place of the last minority hereditary headmen of China, Ma'erkang boasts the Zhuokeji Chieftain's Fortress, listed among the Key National Cultural Relics Protection Units, the history of which radiates intriguing charm. In July 1935, Mao Zedong and the team of the Red Army have found accommodation and office place here. The Tibetan writer A Lai, who has won the 5th "Mao Dun Literature Award", has written the novel titled "Chen Ai Luo Ding" (Dust has Settled Down), reflecting the history of the decline of minority hereditary of Chieftain. The Fortress has cleverly joined the two diverse architecture styles of Tibetan and Han together.

Ma’erkang City

Songgangzhibo Blockhouse is listed among the Key National Cultural Relics Protection Units, with rich historical culture. It is a well-preserved ancient blockhouse with relatively large scale and great historic value. The two blockhouses boast respectively their own features, and can be categorized as male and female blockhouse. One of the two is elegant and tall (37 meters in height), as the female; the other is magnificent and forceful (29 meters in height), as the male. On the Wolong Hill adjacent to them, there are the Songgang Headmen's Official Blockade and ruins of the ancient blockhouses.

Ma’erkang City

The major religion that prevails in the Ma'erkang Area is the Tibetan Buddhism. It was introduced into the area a long time ago, bringing great influence. The Dazang Monastery is among the worship places with relatively large scale and influence, which is located about 100 km away from Ma'erkang County and with an elevation of 3530 meter above sea level. The Dazang Monastery has been called the second monastery after the Ganden Monastery of Tibet. It is a worship place for Shamanism, covering an area of more than 200 mu, with large scale and delicate decoration. Among the halls of it, the Hufa Hall boasts a history of more than one thousand years, and is home to the murals of the Ming Dynasty, which are well-preserved.