Shigatse, at an altitude of 3900 metres, is Tibets second largest city, with a population of over 50 000. It is the administrative centre of a vast area which includes most of west-central Tibet.
Shigatse stands near the confluence of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu rivers. The flows build a broad and beautiful valley 100 kilometers long.Shigatse, also called Xigatse which means "fertile land" is one of Tibet's richest farming areas. Barley, rape, wheat, beans and many varieties of vegetables color the valley with all shades of green in summer, and with bright yellow patches in June and July, when the rape flower is in bloom.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF SHIGATSE:
The Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of Lord Buddha. Items of interest inside this monastery are: the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya and a incredible collection of thangkas, frescoes and statues. In the second week of the 5th lunar month (around June/July), Tashilhunpo Monastery is the scene of a 3 days festival and a huge thangka is displayed.
The imposing castle, Samdrubtse Dzong or "Shigatse Dzong", was built in the 15th century. It was totally dismantled, rock by rock, by hundreds of Tibetans at the instigation of the Chinese in 1961. It was previously the seat of the kings of Ü-Tsang and the capital of the province of Ü-Tsang Tsang. The dzong was clearly taken as example when the Potala Palace was constructed in Lhasa.