Tent, adobe, buildings with barriers and houses feature the residential buildings of Tibetans..
Tent is a traditional residence of Tibetans. Tents are different according to their material, usage, form and size. The most popular one is the wool tent. It is sewed with woolen materials made from yak and effective in preventing wind and rain. One crossbeam and two stay-poles make up the major structure. Towards four directions the woolen material will be pulled down to a suitable height. The foot of the tent is fixed with wooden stakes or ram's horn. It takes no more than half an hour to pitch or strike a tent. Within the tent, a cooking range is set in the centre, behind which is usually a simple niche. To one side of the niche is a parapet piled up by wheat, highland barley, and butter and milk residue. To the other side are the bed, suitcases and robes. Entering a tent, one will find the right side reserved for respected guests.
With the improvement of animal husbandry, Tibetans began building adobe houses and settled down. In the old urban area of Lhasa, the buildings were mainly made of stones. The adobes are always with a flat top. The middle part is courtyard, while rooms are in four directions, with a corridor linking them all. It is wide in the lower part and becomes narrower going up, in the shape of a trapezoid. The stonewall at the lower part nearly reaches 1 meter. People usually worship god, entertain themselves, walk and enjoy scenes on the flat top. The mansions of old aristocrats had three to four stories, while those of common people were two to three stories. Many households lived in the same courtyard.
In humid and rainy areas such as Medog, Bomi and Mainling, the ground floor of the building is usually 1 meter above the ground. The house is square, with its door facing east and windows west. Outside the door, there is a balcony. In forest area, the house is built up of wood log. Some houses have a stone foundation and wooden roof, on which many stones are laid. In Pagri, the buildings are made of stone, with black tiles and white walls.
The houses with a flat top are popular in western, central, northern and northeastern Tibet. Most of the houses built in recent years by herdsmen belong to this kind. Most of them have only one storey. The wall is mainly made of stone or adobe. Due to conditions in different areas, this kind of houses differs in size and decoration.
Besides, as people's living standards improve, cities in eastern and southern Tibet and their suburbs began building a new kind of residences, which feature independent courtyard and surrounding garden. Tourists call them garden-villa houses. They are in different stories, elegant, bright and broad, with complete facilities of water drainage system and electricity supply. They add new features while preserving the traditions of old Tibetan residence; therefore, they are greatly welcomed.