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Gyangtze: A heroic town

On April 5, 1904, the British invaded Gyangze. The Tibetan army and civilian population rose to resist with ancient powder guns and stones, and Gyangze Zong Hill Castle became a fortified point for defense.

The British army cut off the water supply, forcing the Tibetans to fetch dirty water and, in the end, drink their own urine.

The Tibetans persisted despite all difficulties. Unfortunately, the British blew up their ammunition depot. Having no way out, the Tibetans fought with swords, spears, cudgels, and whatever they could lay their hands on, but their position was captured after a three month fight.

Thereafter, Gyangze became widely known as a 'heroic Town'.

Located in the southern part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Gyangze County lies in the east of the Xigaze area, to the north o the Himalayas and on the upper reaches of the Nyang Qu River, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River. It extends from Naiqenkangsang Mountain in the east to Bainang County in the west, Kangma County in the south, and Rengbo County and Xigaze City in the north.

It covers an area of 3,800 square km at an average elevation of 4,100 meters. Under its jurisdiction are 18 townships, one town, 157 administrative villages and three neighborhood committees, with a total population of 62,000.

The county government is sited in Gyangze Twon, covering 4.5 square km and with a population density of 2,400 people per square km. It was named a 'National Historical and Cultural Town' by the State Council in 1996.

From there, it is 260 km to Lhasa in the east, while Gonggar Airport, the largest airport in Tibet, is 230 km away. Yadong, a small border town, is 215 km away in the south.

Gyangze possesses a many cultural relics and historic sites, helping to promote tourism. Major tourist attractions include Palkor Monastery, which is also known as the '100,000-Buddha Dagoba', the Historical Site of Tibetan Resistance Against the British Invaders at Zong Hill, Parlha Manor, which is the only one of its kind kept intact in Tibet today, Naiqenkangsang Snow Mountain famous for its glacier ruins, and the Manlha Water Works which integrates power generation and irrigation with flood control.

Gyangze is rich in mineral resources, such as cargbon rock, kanlin clay, mineral water, alluvial gold rock, and stibium rock. Wildlife and wild plants include yaks, green goats, yellow goats, snow pheasants, river deer, Rhodiola, and fritillaria.

Gyangze's kardian cushions and carpets sell well throughout Asia, Europe and the United States, while its cheese and garlic are also famous in the region.

Gyangze's agricultural production was quite well developed even during the time of the Tubo Kingdom more than a thousand years. ago. At present, it is one of the most important counties in terms of commodity grain production in Tibet. The county' s cultivated land totals 8,933 hectares, 55 percent of which is found in the Nyang Qu River Valley.

Major crops include highland barley (qingke), spring wheat, winter wheat, rape and peas. The gross grain and oil-bearing crop production of the county accounts for 10 percent of the total of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and 25 percent of that of Xigaze.

By the end of 1999, Gyangze had 14 county-owned enterprises. Of these are 11 industrial enterprises in nine major trades including electrical power, light and textile industry, garments, furniture, cereals and oil processing, building materials and farm machinery.

With aid and support from Shanghai, construction of infrastructure facilities has rapidly developed. A number of beautifully shaped representative buildings have emerged, including Zongshan Square, Shanghai Road, Hero Road, Canda Mansion and Minhang Middle School.

Posts and telecommunications, and sanitation facilities have made much progress in recent decades. Thus far, the county's communication optical fiber cable and mobile phone network are now in operation. TV and radio coverage reaches 60 percent and 85 percent respectively. The medicare system is sound and today there are 18 hospital beds for every 10,000 people in Gyangze.

Nowadays, Gyangze boasts 107schools, and all the school age children enjoy six-year compulsory education.

Gyangze Stadium is large enough to hold 30,000 people.

Each year, Gyangze plays host to the Darma Festival, a chance for locals to enrich their cultural life and develop their economy.

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