Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is one of the 10 Tibetan autonomous prefectures in Tibet. It was founded in 1953 with 7 counties and one city. The counties include: Lintan, zhuoni (Joni), Luqu, Maqu, Deibu (Tewo), Zhouqu, Xiahe; one county level city Hezuo. It’s located on the northeast edge of the Tibet plateau.
The city of Hezuo is the capitol of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It’s also the center of economic, political, education and culture of the prefecture. Hezuo is its Chinese name; Zo is its Tibetan name, and means “ antelope” in Tibetan. Its average elevation is over 3,000 meters. In 2015, it had a total population of 90,000 people and 24 ethnic groups, though the vast majority of people are Tibetans. Because of Hezuo’s position, demographic and being a political center, it is much easier to find good lodging and food there. It also has the biggest Tibetan opera theater in Gannan Prefecture. The theater offers the performance of Tibetan traditional dance and song for local Tibetan and visitors every night (excluding the winter season). The theater was invited to Israel to perform Tibetan opera in Dec 2017.
Hezuo Century Square in the city center was built in 2000 and has been repairedseveral times since then. It is a cultural and communal center of the city. People gather in the square for exercise to enjoying local shows and other forms of entertainment. Every evening at 7:00 pm, locals gather here to participate in the traditional Tibetan circle dance. All people are welcome to join the dance. About two kilometers from the bus station, along the main road toward Xiahe, is the towering Milarepa Temple. Milarepa, who lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, is one of Tibet’s most famous Buddhist teachers (of the Kagyu tradition). The temple was built in 1777 and was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It was rebuilt in 1988. The temple has nine floors and each floor has different Buddhist statues, deities and scriptures. It is the main spiritual place for local Tibetans to do the Kora and pray. Gansu Normal University for Nationalities was founded in 1984. The campus is renowned for its beauty. The university is located in southwest Hezuo about 2 kilometers from the city center. Presently, there are over 10,000 students and 700 faculty.
Getting to Hezuo is easy. Xiahe airport is 49 kilometers (an hour and a half drive) away from Hezuo city. There is a highway from Lanzhou city to Hezuo city, which makes the 220 kilometer distance fly by in under three hours. There are several buses to Hezuo every day.