Lhasa

Lhasa is the main city within Lhasa Prefecture and is also the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The three major sites of Lhasa relate to the religious as well as political history of Tibet. Potala Palace, perched upon the Marpo Ri Hill 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet. Home of the leaders of the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lamas, as well as being one of the premier religious pilgrimage sites. Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Street - considered as the spiritual center of Tibet. The Barkhor is the oldest street in Lhasa as well as the traditional center of old Lhasa. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble. The last location is the Norbulingka which was built as a summer palace in the woods outside of Lhasa.

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The Potala Palace, which is now on the list of Chinese national key protected cultural relics, is the most valuable storehouse in Tibet. It is a huge treasure house for materials and articles of Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts. The Palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scripture, Buddha figures, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry treasured up, they are of great cultural and artistic value. In 1994, the Potala Palace was declared the United Nations World Cultural Heritage site.

The Norbulingka Summer Palace - located about 1km south of the Potala Palace - The Seventh Dalai Lama constructed the first summer palace in 1755 and each successive ruler added his own buildings. Norbulingka is now undergoing complete restoration. Presently, the complex contains a small zoo, botanical gardens, and a mansion.