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Home >> Tibet Travel Guide >> Tibet Historical Cities

Tibet Historical Cities

Tibet Historical Cities
Tibet Historical Cities
Tibet Historical Cities

Lhasa, known as Rasa in ancient times, is 3,658 meters above sea level. The 1,400-year-old city is known as the sunlight city as it enjoys 3,021 hours of sunshine a year, with the annual solar radiation value hitting 202 Kcal/square cm.

In 633, Tubo King Songtsan Gambo moved his capital to Lhasa where he had the Potala Palace, Jokhang and Ramoche Monasteries built. From then on, Lhasa became the most populous city in the Tibetan Plateau. The old town formed when a ritual walking route formed around the Jokhang Monastery and more people came to perform the rite. With the rise of the three monasteries in Lhasa (Gandain, Zhaibung and Sera), especially when the Dalai Lama reincarnation system won endorsement of the Qing Dynasty after the 17th century, the Gandain Podrang regime was founded to rule Tibet, and Lhasa became its capital.

In 1982, Lhasa emerged as one of the first group of 24 historical and cultural cities of China; the Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Ramoche Monastery, Norbu Lingka, Zhaibung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Gandain Monastery are all important cultural relics units subject to special protection. Of these, Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery and Norbu Lingka have been included in UNESCO ¡°World Cultural Relics List¡±.


As the second largest city of Tibet, Xigaze is 3,836 meters above sea level. With a history of close to 600 years, the city was the cultural and political center of the Xigaze area and used to be the local capital. Xika Sangzhu Zezong Castle, sitting on the Sunlight Mountain in the north of Xigaze, built in 1360-1363, is a four-story structure known as the Lesser Potala Palace. Other places of historical and cultural interest include Tashilhungpo Monastery, Shalu Monastery and Natang Monastery, all subject to national protection. Xigaze became one of the second group of historical and cultural cities of China in 1986.


Gyangze, a historical and cultural city, lies on the northern bank of the Nyang Qu River. With an elevation of 4,040 meters, it used to be the political and economic center of the Xigaze area, and the most flourishing town then. Zonboin Mansion is kept as a living fossil for the study of feudal serfdom. Its Palkor Monastery and 10,000-Buddhist Dagoba, Parlha Manor and Gyangze Kardian cushions are also known to all in the region.

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