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Potala Palace

Brief / profile

With the altitude of 3,700 meters, the Potala Palace is the greatest monumental architecture in Tibet. Covering an area of 360,000 square meters, this 13-story architectural complex has been listed as the Key cultural site under the State’s special protection.


It stands on the Red Hill in the north of Lhasa, Tibet.

Function or value in the past
The Potala Palace was used as the winter residence of Dalai Lama. Moreover, it was also the political and religious center of Tibet during the region of Dalai Lama.

The palace was originally constructed by King Songtsen Gampo in 637. However, little architecture retained except the foundation in the middle of the 7th century. The palace we see today was built in 1645 during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama. In 1648, the White Palace was completed. During the period from 1690 to 1694, the Red Palace also called Potrang Marpo was also constructed. In 1922, the 13th Dalai Lama renovated the palace and turned it to be the present appearance.

Architecture / Structure / Each scenery.

With 1,000 rooms and about 200,000 images, the Potala Palace consists of two palaces: the White Palace and the Red Palace.
The 7-story White Palace on the lower section of the palace was used as the administrative offices. Its wall was painted to white to show peace and quietness. The largest hall inside is the Great East Hall with an area of 717 square meters. It was used for holding important religious and political events. On the 5th and 6th floors are the living quarters and offices of Dalai Lamas. The East Chamber of Sunshine and the West Chamber of Sunshine are on the top floor of the palace. Dalai Lamas used to live, study and work here.
The Red Palace in the center of Palace is served as the religious area with red-painted walls. In the middle of the Red Palace stands the Great West Hall which is the largest hall of the entire Potala Palace. Covering an area of 725 square meters, it boasts beautiful murals on the walls depicting the glory and power of the 5th Dalai Lama, among which, the most famous mural is the 5th Dalai Lama’s visit to Emperor Shunzhi In Beijing in 1652.
To the west of the hall lies the Stupa Chapel with the stupa-tombs of the 5th, 10th and 12th Dalai Lamas inside.
As the sacred shrine of Chinese Emperors, the Three-world Hall is on the highest point of the Potala Palace. Dalai Lamas used to show their respect to central government right here.
Once having a tour here, you must be impressed by the grand architecture, delicate artworks as well as the strong religious atmosphere.


Tourists can take a taxi at the back of the hill or just climb up from the front.

Admission fee.

The admission fee for the palace is RMB 100. if you’d like to visit the golden roofs, you need to pay extra RMB10.


It’s open to the public form 9:30 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00. During your first day there, we advise you to have a rest in order to get used to the thin air.