@exotic.T I B E T
Situated 3683 m above sea level, Lhasa has long been the political and spiritual capital of Tibet. The centre of the city is occupied by a four-story temple of Gtsug-lag-khang, built in the mid-7th century AD and considered the holiest in Tibet. It was temporarily converted into a guesthouse by the Chinese after 1951, but restoration of its artistic and architectural heritage began in 1972-75, and its religious functions were restored in 1979. Other city landmarks include the temple of Klu-khang; the Potala Palace, once the winter residence of the Dalai Lama; and the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama, the Nor-bu-gling-ka (Jewel Palace), which is now the People's Pleasure Park. The monasteries of 'Bras-spungs (Drepung) and Se-ra, two of the largest in Tibet, have received renovation.
Modern Lhasa divides cleraly into a Chinese section in the west and a Tibetan section in the east. For travellers who have arrived from other parts of China, the Chinese parrt of town hardbours few surprises. Nestled at the foot of the Potala Palace and extending a copule of Kilometres westward is an uninspired muddle of restaurants, karaoke bars, administravtive blocks and department stores. The Tibetan part of town , which begins west of the Jokhang temple, is altogether more colorful and the better area to be based in .
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