Lhasa (lha, ‘abode of the gods’). Sometimes known as ‘the forbidden city’, former home of the Dalai Lama and centre of Tibetan Buddhist life. It was made capital city of Tibet in the 7th cent. CE, and it remains the capital of the autonomous Xizang region (Tibet), and contains the Potala, a fortress of a thousand rooms, in which are kept many images of the Buddha. The Jokhang temple in Lhasa was built in the 6th cent. CE. Drepung monastery, 5 km. away, is an active centre of lama life (though much reduced since 1959).
Lhasa Capital of Tibet (Xizang Zizhiqu) Autonomous Region, sw China, on a tributary of the Brahmaputra, at 3600m (11,800ft) in the n Himalayas. An ancient religious centre, the Chinese occupied the city in 1951. After the Tibetan revolt against the occupation (1959–60), the Chinese closed many of Lhasa's temples and monasteries. The 17th-century Potala Palace was the home of the Dalai Lama. Today, the city is an important trading centre, also manufacturing chemicals and processing gold and copper. Pop. (1999 est.) 121,568.
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