Gāns Shěng
Abbreviations: 甘 or 陇 (pinyin: Gān or Lǒng)
Missing image
Gansu is highlighted on this map

Origin of Name 甘 gān - Ganzhou (Zhangye)
肃 s - Suzhou (Jiuquan)
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Gansu Committee Secretary Su Rong
Governor Lu Hao
Area 454,000 km² (7th)
Population (2002)
 - Density
25,930,000 (22nd)
57.1/km² (27th)
GDP (2003)
 - per capita
130.5 billion (27th)
5010 (30th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 91%
Hui - 5%
Dongxiang - 2%
Tibetan - 2%
Prefecture-level divisions 14
County-level divisions 86
Township-level divisions 1569
ISO 3166-2 CN-62

Gansu (Template:Zh-stpw) is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China. It lies between Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, and the Huangtu Plateaus, and borders Mongolia to the north. The Huang He river passes the southern part of the province. It has a population of approximately 25 million (1997) and has a large concentration of Hui Chinese. The capital of the province is Lanzhou, located in the southeast part of Gansu.

Gansu is abbreviated Gan or Long (陇/隴), and is also known as Long West or Long Right, in reference to the Long Mountain east of Gansu.



There are 14 administrative areas in Gansu immediately below the province level: 12 prefecture-level cities and two autonomous prefectures:


Gansu is the acronym first used in Song China, of two Sui and Tang prefectures (州): Gan (around Zhangyi) and Su (around Jiuquan).

An earthquake in Gansu at 8.6 on the Richter scale killed around 180 000 people in 1920, and another with a magnitude of 7.6 killed 70 000 in 1932.


Gansu province has an area of 390,000 km, and the majority of its land is above 1 km over sea level. It lies between Qingzang, Inner Mongolia, and the Huangtu Plateaus, and borders Mongolia to the north. The Huang He river passes the southern part of the province.

Part of the Gobi Desert is located in Gansu.

The Yellow River (Huang He) gets most of its water from Gansu province. The Yellow River also flows straight thru Lanzhou.

The landscape in Gansu is very mountainous in the south and flat in the north. The mountains in the south are part of the Qilian mountain range. At 5,547 meters high, Qilian Shan Mountain is Gansus highest elevation. It is located at latitude 39°N and longitude 99°E.

Neighboring provinces: Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan, Shanxi, and Ningxia.



Agricultural production includes cotton, linseed oil, maize, melons (the Bailan melon is well known in China), millet, and wheat. Gansu is known as a source for wild medicinal herbs which are used in Chinese medicine.

However, most of Gansu's economy is based on mining and the extraction of minerals, especially rare earth elements. The province has significant deposits of antimony, chromium, coal, cobalt, copper, fluorite, gypsum, iridium, iron, lead, limestone, mercury, mirabilite, nickel, crude oil, platinum, troilite, tungsten, and zinc, among others. The oil fields at Yumen and Changqing are considered significant.

Industries other than mining include electricity generation, petrochemicals, oil exploration machinery and building materials.

According to some sources, the province is also a center of China's nuclear industry.

Its nominal GDP for 2003 was about 130.5 billion RMB (15.7 billion USD) and per capita of 5010 RMB (605 USD).


Gansu province is home to 26,033,400 people. Most of the population, 73%, is still rural. Gansu is 92% Han and also has Hui, Tibetan, Dingxiang, Tu, Manchu, Yugar, Bonan, Mongolian, Salar, and Kazakh minorities.


Within China, Gansu is known for its pulled noodles, and Muslim restaurants which feature authentic Gansu cusine are common in most major Chinese cities.


Places of Interest:

The Jiayuguan Pass of the Great Wall

Jiayuguan Pass, in Jiayuguan city, is the largest and most intact pass, or entrance, of the Great Wall. Jiayuguan Pass was built in the late Ming dynasty, somewhere around the year 1372. It was built near an oasis that was then on the extreme western edge of China. Jiayuguan Pass was the first pass on the west end of the great wall so it earned the name The First And Greatest Pass Under Heaven. Legend goes that the official in charge asked the designer to calculate how many bricks would be used. The designer gave him the number and when the project was finished, only one brick was left. It was put on the top of the pass as a symbol of commemoration. This legend explained the reason for the extra brick at the top of the Jiayuguan Pass.

Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes near Dunhuang represent an astonishing collection of Buddhist art and religion. Originally there were 1,000 grottoes, but now only 492 cave temples remain. Each temple has a large statue of a buddha or bodhisattva and paintings of religious scenes. In the year AD 336 a monk named Le Zun (Lo-tsun) came near Echoing Sand Mountain, when he had a vision of golden rays of light shining down on him like a thousand Buddhas. Le Zun started to carve the first grotto to memorize the incident. During the Five Dynasties period they ran out of room on the cliff and could not build anymore grottoes. Now they have started to find old paintings that were painted over in the Five Dynasties.

Silk Road And Dunhuang City

The historic Silk Road starts in Changan and goes to Constantinople. On the way merchants would go to Dunhaung in Gansu. In Dunhaung they would get fresh camels, food and guards for the journey around the dangerous Takla Makan shamo (desert). Before departing Dunhaung they would pray to the Mogao Grottoes for a safe journey, if they came back alive they would thank the gods at the grottoes. Across the desert they would form a train of camels to protect themselves from thieving bandits. The next stop, Kashi (Kashgar), was a welcome sight to the merchants. At Kashi most would trade and go back and the ones who stayed would eat fruit and trade their bactrian camels for single humped ones. After Kashi they would keep going until they reached their next destination.

Miscellaneous topics

The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is located in the Gobi desert in Gansu Province.

Postage Stamps

In August 1949, the provincial government overprinted the nondenominated stamps "locomotive" and "airmail arrow" stamps issued by the central government. These overprints were made by handstamping in purple, and are quite rare, valued at over US$500 each. Counterfeits are known, and apparent examples should be expertized.


Colleges and universities

Natural resources


  • 166,400 km² grassland
  • 46,700 km² mountain slopes suitable for livestock breeding
  • 46,200 km² forests (standing timber reserves of 0.2 km³)
  • 35,300 km² cultivated land (1,400 m² per capita)
  • 66,600 km² wasteland suitable for forestation
  • 10,000 km² wasteland suitable for farming
  • 455,000 km² total area


3,000 deposits of a 145 different minerals. 94 minerals have been found and ascertained, these include nickel, cobalt, platinum, selenium, casting clay, finishing serpentine, and five other minerals whose reserves are the largest in China. Gansu has advantages in getting nickel, zinc, cobalt, platinum, iridium, copper, barite, and baudisserite.


Among Gansus most important sources of energy are its water resources: the Yellow River and other inland river drainage basins. Gansu is placed ninth among Chinas provinces in annual hydropower potential and water discharge. Gansu produces 17.24 gigawatts of hydropower a year. 29 hydropower stations have been constructed in Gansu. Each station capable of creating 30 gigawatts each. Gansu has an estimated coal reserve of 8.92 billion tons. The province also has an estimated 700 million tons of petroleum. Gansu also a very good potential for wind and solar power development.

Flora and Fauna

Gansu has 659 species of wild animals. Some of which are the giant panda, snub-nosed monkey, antelope, snow leopard, deer, fawn, musk deer, and bactrian which is a two humped camel. It also has 24 other rare animals which are under a state protection. Gansu is home to 441 species of birds.

Gansu province is second place in China for most medicinal plants and herbs, including some odd ones like hairy asiabell root, fritillary bulb, and Chinese caterpillar fungus.

External links

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan

fr:Gansu es:Gansu ja:甘粛省 fi:Gansu zh:甘肃


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