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Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, has a history of more than 1,300 years, and serves as the political, economic, cultural, and transport center of Tibet. Located at the bottom of a small basin surrounded by mountains, Lhasa has an elevation of 3,658 meters and sits at the center of the Tibet Plateau.

Today, Lhasa exercises jurisdiction over seven counties (Damshung, Tolun Dechen, Chushur, Medro Gongkar, Taktse, Nyemo, and Lhundup) and one district (City Proper). It covers an area of close to 30,000 square kilometers. It has a downtown of 544 square kilometers and 140,000 people and an overall population of 500,000. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui peoples, as well as many other ethnic groups, with the Tibetan ethnic group making up 87 percent of the total population.

Blessed with flat land and mild weather, Lhasa is free of frigid winters and unbearably hot summers, and has an annual average daily temperature of 8 degrees C (43 degrees F). It enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, much more than all other cities in this regard, giving the city its title of "sunlit city."

Lhasa enjoys an annual precipitation of 500 mm, seeing rain mainly in July, August, and September. This three-month period is the best time of the year, when it rains mostly at night, and is sunny during the daytime.

Lhasa has beautiful scenery. The Lhasa River, known as the "merry blue waves," runs through the snow-covered peaks and gullies of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains, extending 315 kilometers. The river empties into the Yarlung Zangbo River at Quxu, forming a scenic wonder that features blue and white waves of water.

The ancient city of Lhasa, situated by the Lhasa River, features a combination of traditional and modern things, including prayer wheels and computers. Inside the city towers the Potala Palace.

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