Tibet ( (listen); Tibetan: བོད་, Lhasa dialect: [/pʰøː˨˧˩/]; Chinese: 西藏; pinyin: Xīzàng) is a historical region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in Inner Asia. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 metres (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.
The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. Thus Tibet remained a suzerainty of the Mongol and later Chinese rulers in Nanjing and Beijing, with reasonable autonomy given to the Tibetan leaders. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule after the Battle of Chamdo; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.
: ལྷ་ས་ Tibetan pronunciation: [l̥ʰásə]
) sometimes spelled Lasa
, is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region
in the People's Republic of China
. Lhasa is located at the foot of Mount Gephel
Traditionally, the city is the seat of the Dalai Lama and the capital of Tibet. It is the location of the Potala and Norbulingka palaces (both are included in a World Heritage Site, and in Tibetan Buddhism is regarded as the holiest centre in Tibet. The city is home to 257,400 people as of the 2004 census estimate.
Lhasa literally means "place of the gods", although ancient Tibetan documents and inscriptions demonstrate that the place was called Rasa, which means "goat's place", until the early 7th century.
The city is part of a township-level prefecture, the Lhasa Prefecture consisting of 7 small counties: Lhünzhub County, Damxung County, Nyêmo County, Qüxü County, Doilungdêqên County, Dagzê County and Maizhokunggar County.
The 14th Dalai Lama (Religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub, 6 July 1935) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figure in the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has controversially consolidated control over the other sects in recent years. He is also well known for his political activities relating to the Tibetan independence movement, although he has recently moderated his stance. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors and a manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion.
The Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Qinghai and was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama two years later, although he was only formally recognized as the 14th on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15. He inherited control over a government controlling an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent People's Republic of China wished to reassert central control over it. The respective governments reached an agreement for a joint Communist-Lamaist administration that lasted until 1959.
During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which China regards as an uprising of feudal landlords, but the Dalai Lama regards as an expression of widespread discontent, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he denounced the People's Republic and established a government in exile. A charismatic speaker, he has since traveled the world, proselytizing for Tibetan independence and Tibetan Buddhism, though his role in the former is diminishing. He has spoken about such topics as abortion, economics, firearms, and sexuality, and has attracted controversy for his treatment of Dorje Shugden followers, his relationship with the CIA, and other things.
Thupka with Momo – Tibetan Style
Buddhist monks practicing debate in Drepung Monastery
Himalayas, on the southern rim of the Tibetan plateau
Pastoral nomads constitute about 40% of the ethnic Tibetan population.
Tibetan inscription on a stupa
The Tibetan yak is an integral part of Tibetan life
Tibet is often called the "roof of the world, because it is a very high plateau.
Tibetan family in Kham attending a horse festival
Rogyapas, an outcast group, early 20th century. Their hereditary occupation included disposal of corpses and leather work.
Map of the Tibetan Empire at its greatest extent between the 780s and the 790s CE
The Tibetan uses rugs for almost any domestic use from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles.
An elderly Tibetan woman in Lhasa
Tibetan kitchen items. The butter churn is of a small size with shoulder strap, suitable for nomadic life.
Censer from Tibet, late 19th century, silver
Did you know?
- ...that the species Lhasa apso originates from Tibet?
- ...that Tibet was ruled nearly only by a regent more than 100 years in the 19th century?
- ...that the snowlion is the symbol for Tibetans?
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