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The Potala Palace


The Potala Palace rises 117 meters and is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet.

Perched upon Marpo Ri hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 117 meters and is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet.

Potala Palace was originally build by King Songtsen Gambo in 637 to greet his bride Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty of China.


Destroyed by lightning and war, Potala Palace was rebuild by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1645. Since then, Potala Palace has become the seat of Dalai Lamas and also the political center of Tibet.

The thirteenth Dalai Lama extended it to its present size, 117 meters (384 ft) in height and 360 meters (1,180 ft) in width, covering an area of more than 130,000 square meters (about 32 acres).

Mainly comprised by the White Palace (administerial building) and the Red Palace (religious building), Potala Palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks.

Potala Palace was one of Tibet's major pilgrimage destinations because of the tombs of past Dalai Lamas. Within the White Palace are two small chapels, the Phakpa Lhakhang and the Chogyal Drubphuk. Dating from the seventh century, these chapels are the oldest surviving structures on the hill and also the most sacred. The Potala's most venerated statue, the Arya Lokeshvara, is housed inside Phapka Lhakhang, and it draws thousands of Tibetan pilgrims each day.

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