* The landmark of Lhasa, used to be the winter palace for the Dalai Lamas.
Located in Lhasa City Autonomous Regions, Potala Palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks. It was listed as the world cultural heritage in 1994.
With an elevation of over 3,000m, it was built in memory of the wedding of the Tang-Dynasty Princess Wencheng and Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo, and has a history of over 1,300 years. Built against a hill, the magnificent and spectacular Potala Palace is 13-story high to 117meters.
The building measures 400 meters east-west and 350 meters north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 meters thick, and 5 meters thick at the base. Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 meters on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 meters in total above the valley floor. It is entirely built of granite with flying eaves and gold roof as well as carved beams and painted girders, being an extraordinary sight and the most precious Tibetan religious, artistic and cultural treasury. The first section, known as the upper "Red Palace" served a religious function, housing the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, the gold-plated tombs of eight previous Dalai Lamas, a library containing religious scriptures and numerous temples, chapels and shrines containing thousands of Buddhist sculptures.
The outer section, know as the “White Palace” or “Potrang Karpo” served a political function, incorporating the offices and living quarters of the Tibetan government, a seminary to train future government officials as well as a printing press. The White Palace contains the living quarters of successive Dalai Lamas and their tutors. The offices of the old Tibetan government and their assembly halls are also located here. The original Potala was destroyed in the 9th century, during the breakdown of the Tubo Kingship era. It was rebuilt during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama and completed in the late 17th century. It became known as the "Winter Palace" by the 1750's, when the 7th Dalai Lama built the Norbulingka Park, as his summer residence.
While the inner section knows the “Red Palace” or “Potrang Marpo”, which is served a religious function, housing the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, the gold-plated tombs of eight previous Dalai Lamas, a library containing religious scriptures and numerous temples, chapels and shrines containing thousands of Buddhist sculptures. It consists of a complicated layout of many different halls, chapels and libraries on many different levels with a complex array of smaller galleries and winding passages. In its interior it has palaces, Buddha halls, sutra studying rooms, resting palaces, stupa halls, courtyards and so on. The whole complex has towers superimposed tier upon tier in their loftiness and imposingness, which embodies the extinct Tibetan architectural characteristic features as well as a certain style of the fusion of the Han and Tibetan cultures.
In 1994 it was inscribed in the “World Cultural Heritage List”; and in Nov 2000 and Dec 2001 the Jokhang and Lubu Linka were approved to be included in the “World Heritage List” as expanded items of the Temple of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace.