Ancient, medieval, Islamic and world history -- comments, resources and discussion.
This is western Sichuan, an area which was basically carved away from the eastern Amdo region of Tibet and added onto Sichuan. The architecture is distinctively Tibetan, as is the Buddhist monastery in the foreground. The area is culturally Tibetan, and has never been Chinese. These large hillside towns are actually composites of 100-200 family villages, each self-governing, which are linked together by a system of associations at successive levels. The villages occupied steep hillsides to avoid wasting fertile agricultural land in the valleys, and in some cases merged into complex clusters following the hillsides for miles. This organization has survived despite the imposition of CPPR rule.