Area 720,000 square km
Population 5.62 million (2012)
Capital City Xining

Qinghai Geography

Situated in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau covers an area of 720,000 sq. km, Flanked by two big mountain ranges—Qilian in the north, Tanggula in the south, 4/5 of this highland averages 3,000 meters above sea level. In its middle, stands another big mountain spur----the Kunlun. 95% of province is pastureland. What makes the physical feature of the region unique is that two major Chinese waters, the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers all originate here: one from the southwest slop of main peak of Tanggula; one from northern slope of Bayanhar. This feature has earned the province a name as the source of the rivers. Clad in snow in winter and cool in summer and with 17.2 ºC  (62.96 ºF) as its average monthly temperature in July, the area is an ideal summer resort. The province has a sparse population, 5.62 million in total. The inhabitants are made up of different ethnic group: the Han, the Tibetan, The Hui, The Monoglian, the Tu and the Salar.

Brief History of Qinghai

The Qinghai province has a long history. A military fortress known as Xipingting was built the former site of the city Xining by a hero general Huo Qubing in the second year of reign of Wu Di of Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220), dating from 2100 years ago. During this period, officials from central government came and got settle down in the region to exercise the rule of Han Court. In the 4th year A.D, the local government was officially founded at the prefecture level, Late, in Sui Dynasty (581- 608) two more added. The city Xining began appear in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), meanwhile the judicial system was reinforced. With the development of the region, trade expanded dramatically. The capital city of Qinghai - Xining had only a population 40,000 in early 1950's. Now it has become a newly-emerging industrial site in the northwest part of China and political, economic and cultural center of the Qinghai province. Qinghai's population has reached 5.62 million after 2013.

Qinghai Local Cuisine

The delicacies in Qinghai cuisine are largely related to the special native products of the region. For example, the bear's paw, the Chinese caterpillar fungus, the ox and sheep tendon are often used as ingredients. The Xining Restaurant is the most famous restaurant specializing in local flavors. It is believed that there are over 80 dishes which are highly appreciated by foreign tourists.

Qinghai Local Products

The province is well-know for animal-husbandry and abounds in natural resources. The Xining wool, the yak hide, the otter hide, the leather products, the pilose antler, and the wooden fabric enjoy a brisk market both at home and abroad. In addition, the region grows quite a variety of cash crops and Chinese herbs. These include fritillary, lyceum Chinese, the Chinese caterpillar fungus, Chinese giant beans as well as rhubarb, musk, honey and so on.

Qinghai Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions
The big Mosque

Located in the east part of Xining, this mosque was built in the reign of Emperor Hong Wu of Ming Dynasty (C.1380 A.D) in a style of typical Chinese architecture. The service attended by the Moslems is held here every Friday. Each year, the Corban takes place in the mosque, too. It can hold 10.000 people to pray at one time.

Beichansi Temple

Standing along the slop of the Beishan Mountain in Xining, to the north of the Huangshui River, the Temple is regarded as the centre of China's native religion--- the Taoism. With the construction dating back to the Han Dynasty, it is made up of 18 caves and nine grottoes which are linked up by the plank roads, bridges and corridors. In the temple, the sculpture of Lao zi, the founder of Taoism, and that of the eight immortals plus the elegantly painted murals provide the most imposing sight.

The Taer Lamasery

The Taer Lamasery lies in the southwest suburbs 25 km away from Xining. It was built in the 39th year of the reign of Emperor Jia Jing of the Ming Dynasty (1560 A.D). As the temple is the birthplace of Tsong Khaps, the founder of the Yellow sect of Lamaism, it displays splendour of the exquisite design of architecture. It is now one of China's six biggest Lamaseries and consists of a number of magnificent buildings: the Great Temple of Golden Tile, the Lesser Temple of Golden Tile, the Great Meditation Hall, the Eight Stupas, the Longevity Temple and the Nine-Room Hall, to name but a few. The butter sculptures, murals and appliqués are known as its unique "three wonders" of art. Special ceremonies take place on January 15th, April 15th, June 7th and November 23rd according to the lunar calendar, distinguished for the display of the butter sculptures and the dance of the Dharma King.

The Qinghai Lake

The Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salty lake in China, covers an area of 4,573 sq. km. It stands at 3,200 meters above the sea level. Like most of the highland lakes in the world, the Qinghai Lake is famous for its vast areas, charming views, and the tranquil atmosphere. The fertile pasturelands around the lake with flocks of sheep and cattle grazing leisurely and the herdsman's yurts dotted here and there together with the reflection in the lake of the distant snow covered mountain offer an inspiring sight. The biggest attraction, however, is the world famous island of birds which lies in the northwest of the lake. On this small island, tens of thousands of birds, mostly the wild geese, brown-crested gulls, gulls, cormorants, swans and wild ducks make the place their nestling and breeding ground. Every May the island, less than 1 sq. km. in size, is covered with bird's eggs all over. Then comes summer when the little ones break through the shells. The island becomes a world of new born full of vigour and vitality.

The Qutan Monastery

Located south of 20 km. Ledu County the Qutan Monastery was built in 1387 (20th year of reign of Emperor Hong Wu of the Ming Dynasty) and completed six years later. To mark the occasion of its completion, the emperor gave an inscribed board to it which bear 3 characters reading Quransi. More buildings were added afterwards. Because of the unique style, the monastery earns a name, the Small Forbidden City. It covers an area of 1, 4 hectares and boasts four big halls as well as a bell tower, a drum tower and a pavilion with a stone stele in it. A total of 360 square meters of mural is well preserved in the monastery, featuring the legends and stories of Buddhism.

The Liuwan Graveyard

17 km. east of the Ledu County is the site of the Liuwan Graveyard. Built 3, 500-4,500 years ago, the Graveyard used to be a public burial ground in the primitive society period. With the opening up of 1,700 individual graves, the Liuwan Graveyard is one of the biggest and best kept graveyards ever excavated so far in China. The excavated tombs represent different types of culture such as the Majiayao culture (a late Neolithic Culture), The Xindian Culture (a bronze culture of late primitive society) and so on. The findings include stones wares, bone wares, ornaments and colored pottery wares, totally 40,000 pieces altogether. They provide clues for the study of the development of agriculture and handicrafts at that time. A pottery basin painted with dancing figures is considered a state treasure.