The Potala Palace
The Potala Palace is an ancient architectural complex, considered a model of Tibet an architecture. It is located on the Red Hill in Lhasa,Tibet,being 3,700 meters above sea level. It covers an area of over 360,000 square meters, measuring 360 meters from east to west and 270 meters from south to north. The palace has 13 stories，and is 117 meters high and it is made out of stone and wood. It is comprehensive with hills, stupas, Buddhist, chambers, chapels, monk dormitories, and courtyards, a palace complex largest and highest in the world reputed as “pearl on the world roof”.
In 1994 UNESO listed it as a World Cultural Heritage Site, due to both its architectural grandeur and religious significance.
In 641, after marrying Princess Wencheng, Songtsen Gampo decided to build a grand palace to accommodate her and let his descendants remember the event. However, the original palace was destroyed due to a lightening strike and succeeding warfare during Landama’s reign. In seventeenth century under the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Potala was rebuilt.
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama expanded it to today’s scale. The monastery-like palace, reclining against and capping Red Hill, was the religious and political center of old Tibet and the winter palace of Dalai Lamas. Potala is composed of White Palace and Red Palace. The former is for secular use while the later is for religious.
The stone-and –wood-structured Potala Palace consists of the White Palace and Red palace. The White palace, comprising halls, temples and courtyards, serves as the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. The Red Palace includes various chambers for worshipping Buddha and chambers housing the eight stupa that contain the re-mains of fifth through thirteenth Dalai Lama. All the stupas are covered with gold foil. The most magnificent stupa belongs to the fifth Dalai Lama. It is 14.85 meters tall and inlaid with pearl and jade. The palace also collected large number of sculptures, murals ,scripture and other valuable cultural relics.
Potala palace is the masterpiece of Tibet and buildings and the gem of ancient Chinese architecture. The palace integrates with the hill standing a loft with grandeur and majesty. The walls alternating in red and white, the golden roofs shining with brilliance, it demonstrates infull the appealing charm of ancient Tibet and buildings. It is not only the symbol of the creativity of Tibet and people, but also the unique cultural heritage of human beings on this high and snowy plateau.