Tibet

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Tibet Cities and Landmarks

Lhasa

This regional gateway is the largest urban center in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). Consider a day trip from the city, or a hiking venture through the wilderness. Desert landscapes and ice fields vie for the attention of visitors who make it to this forgotten corner of the world.

Barkhor

Lhasa's busy pedestrian area, which circles the Jokhang temple (the spiritual axis of Tibetan Buddhism), is filled with colorful market stalls, rambunctious street vendors, religious pilgrims and the smell of burning incense.

Drepung Monastery

The other major Buddhist complex on Lhasa's outskirts is cast into a craggy mountainside. Although greatly diminished from its original population of 9,000, there is still a bustling monastic community here.

Ganden Monastery

Though flattened during the Cultural Revolution, many of this monastic center’s halls, which seem to rise straight out of the mountaintop, were rebuilt. Only a Chinese military station blights the verdant scenery.

Shigatse

Tibet's second largest city is more Chinese than Tibetan and has a large military presence. Tashilhunpo Monastery holds the seat of the Panchen Lama, Tibet's second-highest incarnate (currently under house arrest in Beijing).

Gyantse

This largely Tibetan town has preserved traditional architecture and a Tibetan living quarter. The Palkor Choide Lamasery (also called Palchoi or Baiju Temple) and the round 15th-century Kumbum are the main attractions.

Tsaparang

Make the trip west to Tsaparang – though arduous, its is worth it for the ruins of the 10th-century Guge kingdom, a series of clay structures filled with secret tunnels and cave murals.

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