Lhasa, the capital of Chinas Tibet Autonomous Region, has an history of more than 1300 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and transport center of the region.
Lhasa covers an area of 30 000 kms² and its downtown is 544 kms². The capital has a population of 400 000. Lhasa is the home of the Tibetan which represent 87% of the population. The rest is made of Han and Hui peoples as well as many other ethnic groups.
Lhasa has beautiful scenery. It is located at an elevation of 3650 meters. The city stands by the Lhasa River known to the local Tibetans as the Merry Blue Waves.
Blessed with flat land and mild weather, Lhasa is free of frigid winters and unbearably hot summers, having an annual average daily temperature of 8°C. It enjoys 3000 hours of sunlight annually, giving the city its title of "Sunlight City".
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF LHASA:
The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, in 1959. Today the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese government. The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 metres thick and 5 metres thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. The buildling is said to contain over 1000 rooms, 10 000 shrines and about 200 000 statues.
Jokhang means "House of the Buddha". The Jokhang Temple, situated in the center of old Lhasa, was originally built in 647 AD. The Jokhang is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. The three leaves roof of the Jokhang offers splendid views of the Barkhor Street, the bustling Barkhor market, across to the Potala Palace.
Barkhor Square is the place located just front of the Jokhang Temple. The Barkhor was the most popular devotional circumabulation for pilgrims and locals. The walk was about one kilometre long. It became touristic in the 80's, as it was the main place of demonstrations of Tibetan monks and nuns requesting Freedom for Tibet.
Situated 5 kms distance to the western suburb of Lhasa, at the foot of Mt. Ganpoi Uze, the Monastery was built in 1416. It spreads in an area of 20 000 kms². Drepung Monastery is the largest monastery in Tibet.During the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, the Monastery was resided by 10 000 monks. The Monastery keeps plentiful historical relics such as Buddhist scriptures, arts and crafts.
Situated at 3 kms north of Lhasa, the monastery is erected grandly at a mountain slope with a colorful architecture. Sera Monastery was founded in 1419 and used to be the most powerful monastery in Tibet. Sera Monastery together with Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery in Lhasa are known as the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet.