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Home Chinese Cities and Province Information Tibet (Xizang) Autonomoust Region Lhasa

Chinese City Information
Lhasa, the Capital of Tibet

Lhasa Basics
Area:   30,000 square km
Population:   0.55 million (2008)
Postal Code:   850000
Phone Area Code:   0891
Local Time  
A Brief Introduction of Lhasa

Lhasa, Capital City of Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region

If Tibet is the "roof of the world," then its capital, Lhasa, is certainly the “city of the sun.” Standing on a plain over 13,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by towering mountains, Lhasa is a town bathed in sunlight.

Tibet has suffered fluctuating fortunes over the centuries. Historical records reveal little about the region before the seventh century, when King Songzan Ganbu (617-650 A.D.) unified the area and introduced the Sanskrit alphabet. During the centuries that followed, Buddhism took root in Tibet, introduced from India into China by pilgrims traveling the "Silk Road" far to the north.

Buddhism was influenced by the local religion, called Bon, and developed into a form called Lamaism. By the 10th century, the religious movement began to assert political leadership as well. In 1573, a reincarnation of Zongkaba, the founder of the "yellow hat" sect devoted to religious reform, became the first Dalai Lama.

The Potala Palace dominates the city of Lhasa from its site atop Red Mountain (Marpo Ri). It served as a fortress and as the residence of the Dalai Lamas, and so was the center of both political and religious power in Tibet, remaining today an immensely popular pilgrimage site. Divided into White and Red Palaces, the complex rises 110 m (360 ft) high and extends 360 m (1,200 ft) across, and was one of the world’s tallest buildings before the era of modern skyscrapers. Rising thirteen stories and containing over a thousand rooms and some 200,000 images, the palace complex took the work of more than 7,000 laborers and 1,500 artists for more than fifty years to complete. Beneath the fortress are the dungeons where those who ran afoul of the Lamaist theocracy were imprisoned and tortured. (More about Potala Palace)

The magnificent Jokhang Temple, founded more than 1,300 years ago, is situated in the center of Lhasa. In front of the gate stands a stone tablet from the Tang Dynasty, bearing both Chinese characters and Tibetan script. Nearby is the Tang willow tree planted by Princess Wen Cheng.

Another famous building in Lhasa is the Drepung Monastery located six miles north of the city. Standing on a high cliff, its many tiers leaning into a steep mountain face, the monastery is built in traditional Tibetan style. Founded in 1416, it was one of the centers of the "yellow hat" sect, and in its time was the largest of the three great monasteries near Lhasa, housing 10,000 lamas. The temples of the monastery are lavishly decorated with statues of the Buddha, Zongkaba, and others of the Buddhist pantheon. The monastery is still open to worshippers.

Mount Qomolangma, meaning "goddess the third" in the Tibetan language, or Mt. Everest as known in the West, is the world's highest peak, more than 39,000 feet high.
It is everybody's wish to see the world's highest peak, of course, but it is best to admire it from afar, and leave the climbing to the mountaineers.

Ngari (It has different ways of transliteration, such as mNgac-ris and Ali, etc) a miraculous district in the west of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China, is called "the ridge on the roof of the world". (Click for more about Ngari Region)



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