Lhasa is the cultural, political, religious and historical centre of Tibet, one of the most fascinating regions in the entire world.

Set at a dizzying 3,680 metres above sea level, in a vast valley fringed by the Himalaya mountains, Lhasa is the cultural, political, religious and historical centre of one of the most fascinating regions in the entire world. Its name translates as Holy Land or Buddha Land, a clue to its religious importance, evidenced so spectacularly in the astonishing collection of magnificent Tibetan architecture we find here.

The Potala Palace was the main residence of the Dalai Lama from the 17th century, up until his exile in 1959. Its golden roofs, dramatic staircases and brilliant white facade, backed by snow-capped mountains, are visible from far and wide and have come to be a symbol of Tibet. From the the roof terraces, which house the Dalai Lama's residences and the Deyang Shar courtyard, you can enjoy sweeping views across Lhasa.

Of equal significance here is the colourful Jokhang temple, the epicenter of the city, indeed the Tibetan world, to which devout pilgrims came from across the land. It is surrounded by the vibrant and atmospheric Barkor Street, where you can buy souvenirs, enjoy a butter tea at a traditional café and see pilgrims walking clockwise around it, spinning prayer wheels or prostrating themselves along the floor.

On the outskirts of the city is Norbulingka, the official summer residence of the Dalai Lama and set amid trees, ponds and pavilions. The Sera Monastery is noted for being one the best preserved monasteries in Tibet and for its debating monks.

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