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Lhasa Guide

Founded in 633 A.D. under the leadership of King Songtsen Gampo, with a history of over 1300 years, Lhasa, a famous historic city, is officially the capital city of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, as well the political, economic, cultural and religious center of the Tibetan world. Lhasa is rightly one of the most featured and dreamt-about cities in the world. This is not only because of its high altitude at 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) which means remoteness and limited accessibility, but also because of its over 1,000 years' cultural and spiritual history which leaves an impressive heritage that has helped to create the romantic and mysterious Tibetan religion.

In Tibetan, Lhasa means 'The land of the Gods', or 'Holy Place'. Pilgrims crowd this holy city the whole year around, many of them arrives in Lhasa by prostration, the way is always full of arduousness. Three out of the six most important Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries are in Lhasa. Almost one third of Tibetan Lamas practice and live in Lhasa, home to some of the world's richest religious relics.

It is home to the Johkang temple complex, founded by the seventh-century Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo and residence of the most famous religious image in Tibet: the Jowo statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni. The Johkang is the nucleus of central Lhasa's commercial and religious Barkor area. The Potala Palace, built in the seventeenth century by the Fifth Dalai Lama as his palace and one of the greatest examples of Tibetan architecture, is also located in the Lhasa Valley. Finally, two of the three great seats of Gelukpa monasticism – the monasteries of Sera and Drepung – have been located here since the fifteenth century. The most bustling quarter of Barkhor Street is full of pilgrims and international tourists, the local residents there still keep the traditional lifestyle, and the costumes, nearly all the residents carry the prayer beads and canister of scrolling sutra

Though the holy city is one of the highest cities in the world, it does not have extremely frigid winters or unbearably hot summers. It enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, giving it the nickname of "sunlit city." Generally, the best period to visit Lhasa is from May to October, and thanks to its rich sunshine, in daytime, it is even warmer than Beijing and other cities of the same latitude on earth.

Lhasa is an important transportation hub in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Lhasa Gongga Airport is located in Gongga County, about 65 km south of Lhasa city. It connects Lhasa with most western Chinese cities, and big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Traveling by train to Lhasa is another highlight for visitors. With a total length of 1,956 km, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the longest plateau railway and also the highest in the world. It starts at Xining in Qinghai and ends at Lhasa in Tibet.

Top Things to Do in Lhasa

Visit the Potala Palace Circle the Barkor Street Relax at Makye Ame

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