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Gyantse

Gyantse (Gyangtse) is a town located in Gyangze County, Shigatse Prefecture. It was previously considered the third largest town in Tibet, (after Lhasa, and Shigatse, but there are now at least ten larger cities.

Gyantse  is 3,977 metres (13,050 ft) above sea level, and is located 254 km southwest of Lhasa in the fertile plain of the Nyang Chu valley and on the Friendship Highway, which connects Kathmandu, Nepal to Lhasa, Tibet.

The town is strategically located in the Nyang River Valley on the ancient trade routes from the Chumbi Valley, Yatung and Sikkim, which met here. From Gyantse, routes led to Shigatse downstream and also over the Karo La (Pass) to Central Tibet.

Gyantse was the third largest city in Tibet before being overtaken by Chamdo. It is often referred to as the "Hero City" because during the British Younghusband expedition of 1904, the 500 soldiers of the Gyantse dzong held the fort for several days before they were overcome by the British forces.

Gyantse is notable for its magnificent tiered Kumbum (literally, '100,000 images') of the Palcho Monastery, the largest chörten in Tibet. The Kumbum was commissioned by a Gyantse prince in 1427 and was an important centre of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. This religious structure contains 77 chapels in its six floors, and is illustrated with over 10,000 murals, many showing a strong Nepali influence.

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