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Tibet’s capital sits in a stark valley ringed by snow-capped mountains that reach a colossal 5,500 metres. At an altitude of 3,490 metres itself, it is one of the world’s highest cities - Lhasa even means ‘Place of Gods’. Although it has seen a rapid expansion in recent years and become a typical modern city, Lhasa still retains that magical atmosphere that tempted adventurers to make attempt after attempt to reach it for hundreds of years. It remains the Holy Land for Tibetan Buddhists, the valley around it still dotted with red-robed-monk-filled monasteries, including the renowned university monastery, Sera.
An important settlement for over 1,000 years, Lhasa has so much to discover. Whilst your first glimpse of the mighty Potala Palace, settled on its hilltop, will take your breath away, it is amongst the white-washed alleyways of the Old Tibetan Quarter that you will find the city’s, and Tibet as a whole’s, heart and soul. The spirituality is still thick around the Jokhang, Tibetan Buddhism’s most sacred temple, and its pilgrimage circuit, the Barkhor. Both are still thronged with pilgrims spinning their prayer wheels and prostrating themselves. The Potala Palace (the Dalai Lama’s winter palace), the Norbulingka (the Dalai Lama’s summer palace) and the Jokhang are all UNESCO World Heritage sites, and definite must sees during a Lhasa tour, but the main thing to enjoy, is that wonderful air of mysticism that modernity cannot erase.
Lhasa offers a wealth of wonderful sights and experiences. What better way to explore them than on a Wendy Wu tour?
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We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about Lhasa: