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Shigatse

Shigatse or Rikaze is a county-level city and the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region of China, with a population of 80,000, about 250 km (160 mi) southwest of Lhasa and 90 km (56 mi) northwest of Gyantse. It is the administrative centre of modern Xigazê County in the Xigazê Prefecture, a region of Tibet.

The city is located at an altitude of 3,840 metres (12,600 ft) at the confluence of the Yarlung Zangbo (aka Brahmaputra) and Nianchuhe (Nyang Chu) rivers in west Tibet and was the ancient capital of Ü-Tsang province. It is also the name of the surrounding county.

History
Shigatse was previously known as Samdruptse.
In the 19th century the "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over Tashilhunpo Monastery and three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by two Dzongpön (Prefects) appointed from Lhasa.

There were two Dzongpöns for every Dzong - a lama (Tse-dung) and a layman. They were entrusted with both civil and military powers and are equal in all respects, though subordinate to the generals and the Chinese Amban in military matters. However, there were only one or two Ambans representing the Chinese emperor residing in Lhasa, directing a little garrison, and their power installed since 1728, progressively declined to end-up as observer at the eve of their expulsion in 1912 by the 13th Dalai Lama.

Tashilhunpo
Shigatse contains the huge Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama. It is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. The "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by a dzongpön (general) appointed from Lhasa. In the 2nd week of the 5th lunar month (around June/July), Tashilhunpo Monastery is the scene of a 3-day festival and a huge thangka is displayed.

Samdrubtse Dzong
The imposing castle, Samdrubtse Dzong or "Shigatse Dzong", was probably built in the 15th century. It looked something like a smaller version of the Potala, and had turret-like fortifications at the ends and a central Red Palace. It was previously the seat of the kings of U-Tsang and the capital of the province of Ü-Tsang or Tsang. Between 2005 and 2007, the building was reconstructed, financed by donations from Shanghai. The basis of the reconstruction were old photos, yet reconstruction was executed in cement/concrete. Afterwards, the outside was to be wainscotted with natural stones. The dzong which, in the 17th century, clearly was taken as example when the Potala Palace was constructed in Lhasa, will become a museum on Tibetan culture.

Nearby Attractions
Shalu Monastery
Narthang, the first printing establishment in central Tibet
Mt. Everest Base Camps

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