These gardens, situated 4km/2.5mi away on the western edge of the city, are the most frequented park in Lhasa. It is part of the Dalai Lama's summer residence, construction of which began in the 1840s, although the buildings to be found there today date for the most part from 1954-56.
The 360,000sq.m/90acres of parkland encompass everything from grand palaces and every possible kind of pavilion to pergola and small lakes.
Potala Palace is Tibet's mightiest construction, and as fortress and the Dalai Lama's residence it was the center of political power in the country. With its amazing paintings and treasures it is at the same time an impressive witness to Tibetan religious devotion. As such it is the perfect embodiment of the unity of religion and government in the position of the Dalai Lama as well as in Tibet generally.
The complex is 110m/360ft high and 360m/1200ft wide, and can be divided into The White and the Red Palace.
Temple of Tsuglagkhang
The Temple of Tsuglagkhang, mostly known as Jokhang, in the center of the city is the oldest place of worship in Tibet, and the destination of a continuous stream of pilgrims. Although it was probably built by the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti, Songtsen Gampo's third wife, it is more commonly associated with the name of Wen Chang. Wen Chang arrived in Lhasa soon after Bhrikuti and brought with her the figure of the 12-year-old Buddha Shakyamuni which today is the main treasure in the temple and enjoys great devotion. The present-day statue, however, is thought to date from the 12th C. A large part of the works of art in the temple - amongst them the statues of Songtsen Gampo and the two Princesses - did not survive the Cultural Revolution On show today are mostly replicas made in recent years. The fantastic murals depicting the history of the building of Jokhang are worth mentioning.
Drepung Monastery is located on a hillside 10km/6mi northwest of Lhasa. It was built in 1416 in the typical Tibetan style by adherents of the Yellow Cap Order (Gelupka) and became the political center of the sect, with four Buddhist seminaries being housed here. The sacred buildings, which can accommodate up to 8000 monks, form the largest Lamaist monastery in Tibet. The burial stupas of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dalai Lamas are to be found here.
To the southwest of the monastery lies the palace, dating from 1530, in which the Dalai Lama resided.