Potala Palace
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Potala Palace

Update: Jan. 6th, 2013

Potala Palace

Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill in northwestern part of Lhasa City, Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is a grand castle-style architecture complex. It was built for Princess Wencheng of Tang Dynasty by Songtsen Gambo. Potala Palace became the winter residence of Dalai Lama till 1959. It was also the political and religious dominion center of Tibet. There are countless treasures in Potala Palace and it was praised as an art museum. It was listed as one of the first batch of national key protective cultural relic in 1961. Potala Palace was listed on the World Cultural Heritage Record.

Potala Palace – History

Potala Palce was firstly built by Songtsen Gambo in the 7th century and was originally named Red Hill Palace. It was the political center of Tubo Kingdom with three defensive walls around the palace. Because of the fire disasters and wars, Red Hill Palace was abandoned gradually after the break-up of Tubo Kingdom in the 9th century.

During the 800 years between the 9th century and 17th century, Red Hill Palace was not rebuilt because of the serious political situation in Tibet. It only acted as a religious activity center.

In 1645, the Fifth Dalai Lama – Lozang Gyatso reconstructed Potala Palace. The architecture complex based on White Palace was constructed. The palace became the political palace again. Potala Palace acted as the residence of Dalai Lama of the past dynasties, as well as the political and religious activity center. The Red Palace architecture complex was built during 1690 to 1694.

The 13th Dalai Lama constructed a series of affiliated architectures at eastern White Palace and the foot of Potala Palace. The construction of the Pagoda of 13th Dalai Lama symbolized the completion of the reconstruction and expansion of Potala Palace started from 17th century. The construction of Potala Palace experienced more than 1300 years.

Potala Palace – Architecture

Potala Palace is made up of the White Palace and the Red Palace.

The Red Palace refers to the buildings with crimson color in the central of Potala Palace. There are principal halls, chapels, and shrines of the past Dalai Lamas. Its inner part is decorated with painting, carving, ornaments and jewelries.

The White Palace refers to the buildings surrounded the Red Palace. The living quarters of the Dalai Lamas, offices, the seminary and printing houses are located in White Palace. There are also numerous shrines and chapels, as well as libraries for the important Buddhism classics and scriptures.

Potala Palace – Inner Structure

Potala Palace covers an area of 0.13 million square meters. The main building of Potala Palace is 117 meters high. There are more than 2000 rooms varied in size in the palace. Potala Palace acted as the winter palace of Dalai Lamas and their political center.

Potala Palace is composed of three main parts: the residence of Dalai Lama, Buddha Halls and Buddhism Monasteries. The top floor of the White Palace was the residence of Dalai Lama. There are 38 various Buddha halls in Potala Palace, including the pagoda halls of Dalai Lamas.

Potala Palace – Collection

Potala Palace is a great treasury of Tibetan culture. It stored a large quantity of various historical relics and artworks. According to statistics, there are about 60000 rolls of Buddhism classics and more than 70000 jade articles, porcelains, silverwares, bronze wares, silks, clothes and Thangka.

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