WORLD HERITAGE        
Lhasa Potala Palace
Tibetan Buddhism holy land
 
The Potala Palace is located at an altitude of 3,700 m on Marpo Ri (Red Mountain) in the center of Lhasa Valley in Tibet. The site was used as a meditation retreat by King Songtsen Gampo (617-650), who in 637 built the first palace there in order to greet his bride Princess Wencheng (文成, Wénchéng, 625-680) of the Tang Dynasty. The UNESCO World Heritage site has become a famous Buddhism holy land and a popular attraction.

The thirteen-story building contains over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues. The building covers more than 100,000 square meters, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m thick and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes.

The White Palace located on the east and west wings of the Potala Palace makes up the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. The first White Palace was built by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1654. It then was extended to its size today by the thirteenth Dalai Lama in the early twentieth century. The palace contains the living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house. The Red Palace in the center of the Potala palace is completely devoted to religious study and Buddhist prayer, with thousands of statuses of Buddha, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng. It consists of a complicated layout of many different halls and libraries on many different levels with smaller galleries and winding passages.
 
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