("the Forbidden City") Capital of Tibet
at 5,000m/16,400ft. As the traditional centre of Tibetan Buddhism
, it is the site of many temples, monasteries, and of the Potala
, the former palace of the Dalai Lama
. As Tibet's trading centre, it has many traditional handicrafts and some light industry.
History: The Tibetan capital since 1642, it was closed to Westerners until 1904, when members of a British expedition led by Colonel Francis E Younghusband visited the city. Before the Chinese occupation (1951) monks comprised half the population. Since then many Tibetans have fled, including the Dalai Lama following the 1959 uprising. Monasteries have been destroyed and monks killed, and an influx of Chinese settlers has generated resentment. In 1988 and 1989 nationalist demonstrators were shot by Chinese soldiers
Population (1982): 105,000