Lhasa: what to see

Administrative capital of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, Lhasa is a highly spiritual and unique city. At an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace and Jokhang temple, but it is also an amazing place to see and amazing culture to experience.
Photo by D. Jaroschik
  1. First and foremost - the reason for many to travel to Lhasa in the first place - is Potala Palace. World Heritage Site and a museum, it was previously a residence of Dalai Lama until his fled to India in 1959. The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 metres (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor.
Photo by TIBET.CN
  The travel route here is set strictly. Visitors all have to enter from the east main entrance and visit time is limited in 1 hour. Be aware of the taboos of Tibetan Buddhism during the visit: don't wear a hat or sunglasses; don't step on the doorsill; don't smoke in the halls; don't take photos in the palace although it is allowed outside it. There are only 2300 tickets sold a day,  and the earliest you can buy a ticket is after 5 pm the day before and you would need a valid ID to buy it. Each valid ID document can be used only once within a week. However, one visitor can have as many as four reservation tickets (one for himself and the other three for his companions) at a time. The reservation ticket window is open at 08:30 and closed after all tickets are sent out. Buying a ticket and not using might get you on the blacklist which forbids you to re-appy within one week, so if you plan to visit it you better come timely or make sure to cancel or extend your ticket beforehand. Adminssion Fee is CNY 200 ($12) on May 1-Oct.31 and CNY 100 ($6)  Nov. 1-Apr. 30, but it is free for children under 1.3m and seniors above 70.
Photo by D. Jaroschik
  2.The Jokhang temple, 2 km(1.2 miles) to the east of the Palace, has become the spiritual hub of the country. It is located in Lhasa’s city centre, conveniently next to the Barkhor street. The Monastery is in no way second to the Potala Palace, and is also one of the most popular attractions for tourists in the Tibetan region. Construction on the Monastery began in 601 AD. It has had many names, including “Resha” and “Luoxie,” but in the ninth century its name was changed to “Jokhang Temple Monastery” which means “Palace of Classic Books.” This is the oldest wooden architectural structure in Tibet crafted in Han-Tibetan Tang style.
Photo by TIBET.CN
  3. Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is also a must-see place for visitors. It's said that in 647, the first Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617 - 650) built the Jokhang Temple. Due to its magnificence, it quickly attracted thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. As a result, a trodden path appeared. That is the origin of Barkhor Street. Today still many pilgrims hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise there from dawn to dark. Some of them are teenagers and have experienced thousands of miles' walk to reach this sacred place.
Photo by D. Jaroschik
  For visitors, Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. It was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of tourists every day. Varied shops stand on its both sides and thousands of floating stands are on every corner. Most of them offer the prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles for sale. Furthermore, some shops sell 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting), which is a unique art of Tibet with the themes of religion, history, literature, science and customs. Not surprisingly, there are some articles from India and Nepal in this street as well.
Photo by TIBET.CN

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