The loess mountains of Dongxiang Autonomous County

Reimagining the Silk Road

The loess mountains of Dongxiang Autonomous County

Gansu, 2010

The enclave of another group of Muslims called the Dongxiang, a group said to be descendants of Mongolian soldiers, is based 40 kilometers east of Linxia. This area, between Linxia and Lanzhou, is marked by chalky loess mountains that are heavily eroded. The mountainous area historically made travel arduous. Muslim traders called “households on foot” would form caravans that hauled goods up and down the mountains. In the socialist period, road building has been a major enterprise for the government. The equivalent of a highway connecting Linxia and Lanzhou bypasses Dongxiang, taking about two hours to travel by bus.