Lhasa is a definitely a unique place in the world. It is the amazing capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the political, economic, cultural, transport and tourist centre of the Region. Over 1,000 years’ cultural and spiritual history which leaves an impressive heritage that has helped to create the romantic and mysterious Tibetan religion. Located at an altitude of 3,650 meters above sea level, Lhasa is also the highest and least polluted city in the world.
Founded in 633AD under the leadership of King Songtsan Gampo, the city itself has become the “Mecca” of Tibet. Pilgrims crowd the year round. Many even knock head, stretching their whole body down to the ground every 3 to 4 steps of walking from far away to Lhasa. It is always full of myth of religion.
As a jewel in the Himalayas and one of several thorns in the side of China’s rulers, Lhasa, whose name literally means “Holy Land”, is massive, exotic, and culturally under siege. Tibet’s landscape makes you weak in the knees. In the shadow of Everest the Tibetan people have developed a gentle, mysterious culture, and visitors find a country lined with stupas and adorned with fluttering prayer flags. Everywhere the influence of Tibetan Buddhism can be seen, from old Tibetans spinning prayer wheels to 1300 year-old Lhasa and its otherworldly Potala Palace, home to Dalai Lamas past.
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.
Differing from the inland cities and other places in Tibet, Lhasa is unique with an allure all of its own. In the Tibetan language, Lhasa means the Holy Land or the Buddha Land. It is the center of Tibet’s politics, economy and culture. The city has also been appointed as one of the 24 historical and cultural cities of China. The splendor and grandeur of the Potala Palace in Lhasa remains a world-famous symbol of the enigmatic power of politics and religion in this region.
As the beautiful capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Lhasa is situated in the South Central part of the region, on the North bank of the Kyichu River (Lhasa River) in a mountain-fringed valley. This ancient sprawling city, settled 1,300 years ago, covers 30,000 square kilometers (11,583 square miles), with a population of 400,000, of which 87 percent are Tibetans. The urban population is 180,000.
Generally the period from March to October is the best time to visit Tibet. Since Lhasa is located at such a high altitude it is wise to be prepared before starting your journey. Generally speaking, due to the large temperature differences during any given day in Tibet, warm clothes should be taken to keep away the cold. However, because it also receives a great deal of sunshine, sunglasses, suntan oil, and a sun hat are indispensable items if you’re traveling anywhere in Tibet.