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Potala Palace

Potala Palace

The Polata Palace stands erect at the Red Mountain of Lhasa and is the symbol of Lhasa. It is a religious and administrative complex, the significance of which equals to that of the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace. It is 3,750 meters above sea level and has 13 stories. Its magnificent view can be seen hundreds of miles away. The Potala Palace has long been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site

It has an area of more than 100, 000 meters squared and was originally the palace for the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and his bride Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty. In 1645, the fifth Dalai Lama began construction of the Potala Palace, which was finished in 1694. The Potala Palace had been the residence of the Dalai Lama and the political center of Tibet for centuries.

The Polata Palace is mainly composed of the White Palace (administrative building), the Red Palace (religious building), and the Great West Hall separating the two main palaces. The palace contains about 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. It is famous for its large buildings, complicated architecture, splendid artworks, and spiritual atmosphere.

The White Palace (or Portrang Karpo) is the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. There are also offices, a seminary and a printing house. A central courtyard separates the living quarters of the Dalai Lama and his monks with the Red Palace which is the religious quarter that contains several gold stupas where tombs of eight Dalai Lamas are. There are also libraries where Buddhist scriptures are stored, an assembly hall, numerous chapels and shrines.

The Great West Hall in the middle of the palace is the largest hall there with an area of 725 meters squared. Beautiful murals are painted on inner walls describing the glory of the 5th Dalai Lama and significant historical events like the marriage of Princess Wen Cheng and the building Jokhang Temple. There are three majestic chapels around the Great West Hall.

The ancient Potala Palace presents to visitors not only its splendid architecture, but also the precious cultural objects found in the palace. It is the essence of Tibetan ancient architecture and a treasure of Tibetan art.