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Potala Palace

Potala Palace, located on the Red Hill on Beijing C. Road, Lhasa, is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet.

Potala Palace was originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. Destroyed by lightning and war, it had been rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1645. Iits construction required the labors of more than 7000 workers and 1500 artists and craftsman. Since then, it became the winter residence of the Dalai Lama and once served as both the seat of government for Tibet and a religious center for Tibetan Buddhism.

The present Potala Palace is 117 meters height with 13 floors and contains 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. It is composed of the White Palace and Red Palaces, with the red one in the middle. The White Palace is a seven-floor building originally built in 1645. The entire building is made of stone and wood and covers an area of 130,000 square meters. It was both the residence of the current Dalai Lama and tomb of the former. The Red Palace was built in 1690 after the death of the Fifth Dailai Lama, which once served as the religious areas of the palace. Beautiful murals painted on inner walls described the glory and power of the Fifth Dalai Lama, One of the most famous describing the Fifth Dalai Lama's visit to Emperor Shunzhi in Beijing in1652.

For more than 300 years, Potala Palace has treasured many culture relics such as murals, stupas, statues, thangkas, and rare sutras. In December of 1994, it was listed as UNESCOs World Heritage sites.

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