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Lhasa's Potala Palace

Updated: 2014-12-01 14:08:10

( Chinaculture.org )

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InTibet, there was a kind of government structure called "Zong Shan". "Zong" means a local Tibetan administrative unit, equivalent to a county in interior areas. The government center of a "Zong" was mostly constructed on the hill, thus becoming a castle called "Zong Shan".Lhasa'sPotalaPalace, the greatest building inTibet, is both the highest "Zong Shan" and the temple of the gods of Tibetan Buddhism.

ThePotalaPalace, built on the Potala Hill (Red Hill), is an extremely magnificent castle, the only example in ancientChinaand a masterpiece rare even in world architectural history. In outward appearance, the 13-storey building is about 119 meters high, and covers an area of 100,000 square meters. Work to construct thePotalaPalacebegan in7th centuryof the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in honor of the Tang Princess Wenchen who was sent to marry Zhanpu King ofTufenKingdominTibet, but was later destroyed in war. The presentPotalaPalacewasrebuilt in the 2nd year (1645) of the rule of Qing Emperor Shizu, around the timewhen the fifth Dalai Lama went toBeijingto have an audience with him. It took 50 years to complete.

The outer walls of the central part of thePotalaPalaceare painted red, earning it the name of theRedPalace. Inside is the stupa hall containing stupa for the Dalai Lamas of all ages, as well as Buddhist halls. The east and west of theRedPalaceare linked to the east and west White Palaces. The eastWhitePalaceholds the living area of the Dalai Lamas, while the westWhitePalaceserves as monks' living rooms. Extending forward from the lower part of theRedPalaceis a white terrace linking the east and west White Palaces, inside which are various warehouses.

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