It is a magnificent landscape set at ”The Roof of the World”. Its fascinating tradition of arcane Buddhism and the historic peaceful fight for its freedom demonstrates the highness of Tibetan culture.
Despite that the Cultural Revolution has damaged the cultural identity of Tibet, especially because the invasion of the Han people and Chinese customs; it still conserves its own life-style and admirable religious traditions.
The route to Tibet was forbidden for many years, but since the 1980s tourists are able to travel with an especial permission of the Chinese government. The altitude of the plateau may cause health problems to the visitors, so it is recommendable to consult a doctor before go there.
The “city of the gods” is the sacred capital of Tibet. Lhasa is a magical place located in the middle of high mountains and fantastic clear skies (3700m-12,000ft).
The fabulous Potala Palace in Lhasa was the traditional residence of Dalai Lamas converted today into a spectacular museum which includes 10,000 chapels, underground labyrinths and a huge number of frescoes and statues of Buddha. The relics of Potala have an ancestral influence from Nepal and India.
Lhasa also has other attractive buildings, such as the Drepung Monastery, the Norbulingka (Summer Palace), the Jokhang Temple, with its golden statue of Buddha and the Tibet Museum at Norbulingka, which contains a grand collection of regional relics.
The Silk Road
Since the Han dynasty era in 1st century BC, the Silk Road had become an extraordinary route of caravan trails, oasis, roads and mountain passes, where merchants, traders, pilgrims, monks, soldiers and nomads from China and West interchanged its goods and beliefs. The route also was used to control the Chinese empire, especially in the Mongol era.
The classical routes cross the whole continent; beginning in the north of China, through desolate desert and mountainous land and ending in the ports of the Caspian Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
There were two major roads: the north route, which connected Xi’an with Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and the Caspian Sea; and the south route, which finished at the Karakorum Mountain in India.
The Silk Road helped to extend the Buddhism into East Asia and the Islam in the eastern China. As a result, there are still a lot of monasteries, grottos, stupas and minarets near to the route. These buildings have merged with the varied landscape, diverse minority groups and beautiful cities.
The best remains of the Silk Road are the Buddhist caverns in Dunhuang at Xinjiang Province; the ancient city of Jiaohe at Turpan and the famous traditional Sunday market at Kashgar.