As one of the five autonomous
regions in the People’s Republic of
China, the Tibet Autonomous Region exercises
jurisdiction over one city (Lhasa City),
one district directly under the Lhasa city
government (Chengguan District), six prefectures
(Nagqu, Qamdo, Nyingchi, Shannan, Xigaze
and Ngari prefectures), one county-level
city (Xigaze City), and 71 counties.
Lhasa is the capital of the
region. Xigaze is its second largest city.
Other major cities include Zetang Town,
Bayi Town, Nagqu Town, Chengguan Town, Shiquanhe
Town, Gyangze Town and Zam Town.
A cultural city with a history
of over 1,300 years, Lhasa sits on the northern
bank of the Lhasa River, a tributary of
the Yarlung Zangbo River. With an elevation
of 3,658 meters, the city covers an area
of close to 30,000 square km, including
a downtown area of 544 square km.
Located in the central south
part of Tibet, Lhasa City lies on the northern
bank of the Lhasa River, a tributary of
the Yarlung Zangbo River. Covering an area
of 31,622 square, the city is home to more
than 30 ethnic groups including Tibetan,
Han and Hui, of which Tibetans account for
more than 87 percent of the total population.
The city enjoys an average annual temperature
of 7.5 degrees Celsius—the January
average being minus 2.3 degrees and that
in July 14.9 degrees. It falls into the
category of a highland monsoon climate.
Its major grain crops include qingke barley,
wheat and corn, while its economic crops
include potatoes, turnips and cabbages.
Its medicinal herbs include Chinese caterpillar
fungus, caladium, rhodiola root, snow lotus,
ginseng fruit, musk and pilose antler. Its
wildlife includes wild yaks, wild donkeys,
Mongolia gazelles and Tibetan antelopes.
Its traditional handicrafts include waist
knives, kardian cushions, carpets, bamdian
aprons, wooden bowls, and gold and silver
Lhasa has opened more than 200
scenic spots, including some 20 major ones,
such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery,
Ramoche Monastery, Norbu Lingka, Zhaibung
Monastery, Sera Monastery, Zongjab Lukhang,
Gandain Monastery, Curpu Monastery and Razheng
Monastery. Its major sceneries include the
Nam Co Lake, Yangbajain Geothermal Field,
snow peaks of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains,
hot springs at Dezong and Doilung, and nature
reserves in Lhunzhub and Meizhukongka.
Nagqu Prefecture lies in northern
Tibet abutting Xinjiang and Qinghai. Its
total area is 286,500 square km. More than
98 percent of its population is Tibetan
and their main livelihood is livestock breeding.
The central and western parts
of Nagqu belong to Changtang, lying at an
average elevation of over 4,500 meters.
Maintaining a primitive ecology, the prefecture
is dotted with some 1,000 rippling lakes
including Nam Co, Serling Co and Tangra
Yumco, as well as many hot springs and geothermal
fields. It is richly endowed with minerals,
oil and natural gas. There are over 20 animal
species subject to State first and second-class
protection. Major special products include
oxen and sheep wool, Cashmere goat wool,
caterpillar fungus, snow lotus flower, caladium
and musk. Major scenic spots include the
Shaten Monastery located in Nagqu County,
Arza Lake and Drongyul Township Scenic Area
in Jiali County, Nujiang River scenic area
and Bomphan Primitive Forests in Biru County,
as well as the Batang Monastery of the Bon
religion, Lungkar and Lupug monasteries.
Located in eastern Tibet, Qamdo
Prefecture abuts Yunnan and Sichuan provinces
to the east, and Qinghai Province to the
north. The Sichuan-Tibet, Yunnan-Tibet,
Qinghai-Qamdo and other trunk roads meet
here. Covering an area of 130,000 square
km, this prefecture is home to the Tibetan,
Han, Mongolian, Naxi, Lili and Hui ethnic
There are some 80 high peaks
each with an elevation of over 5,000 meters
in the prefecture. In the river valleys,
forests and natural pastures live more than
600 species of wildlife such as snow leopards,
pandas, Yunnan golden monkeys and white-lipped
deer. It is rich in some 1,200 kinds of
medicinal herbs including caterpillar fungus,
musk and young pilose antler.
Major scenic areas include Qambaling
Monastery and Karu New Stone Age Ruins,
Zugung County’s Meili Snow Mountain,
and Zaya County’s cliff sculptures
and Lunglung stone carvings.
Located in southeastern Tibet,
Nyingchi Prefecture is on the middle and
lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River.
It abuts India and Myanmar to the south.
Covering an area of 99,700 square km, it
is home to the Tibetan and Han, as well
as Moinba and Lhoba ethnic groups.
Under the impact of the warm
air current from the Indian Ocean, Nyingchi
Prefecture is free from unbearably hot weather
in summer and freezing cold in winter. It
is blessed with plentiful precipitation
and humidity. Forests covering 2.64 million
hectares teem with giant spruce trees some
more than 200 years old, while the oldest
cypress tree is 2,500 years old. Timber
reserves exceed 800 million cubic meters.
The number of known higher plants reaches
some 2,000. The lowest elevation is about
1,000 meters. Some places in the prefecture
are suitable for growing rice, oranges,
bananas and lemon. Rare wildlife includes
Bengal tigers, Yunnan golden monkeys, leopards,
bears and antelopes. Native produce include
tube of elevated gastrodia, pseudo ginseng,
fritillaria, Hongjintian, Chinese caterpillar
fungus, glossy ganoderma and other medicinal
herbs, as well as more than 120 kinds of
fungi. Nang County’s Tibetan hats
and wooden bowls, Bome’s “Qomolangma
tea”, and Ye’ong Tibetan knives,
Zayu’s woven bamboo products and Tibetan
wooden bowls are famous in China.
Nyingchi boasts eight scenic
areas comprising 40 scenic spots. They include
ones acknowledged as outstanding by world
tourism organizations, 4A ones recommended
by the China National Tourism Bureau, as
well as the national forest park known as
Basum Co Scenic Area. Others include the
Namjiagbawa Scenic Area, Yarlung Zangbo
Grand Canyon, Yi’ong Geological Park
and Serchila State Forest Park.
Located on the middle and lower
reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, Shannan
Prefecture abuts Bhutan and India to the
south. Covering an area of some 80,000 square
km, it is home to the Tibetan, Han, Hui,
Moinba and Lhoba ethnic groups. Tibetans
occupy 98 percent of the total population.
As one of the major cradles
of the Tibetan race, Shannan has a long
history. It has 10 cultural relic sites
subject to national protection, including
the Tombs of Tibetan Kings, Samye Monastery,
Changzhub Monastery, Zhatang Monastery,
Jidui Tubo Tombs Group, Leshan Tomb, Lhagyali
Imperial Palace Ruins, Namserling Manor,
Gyiru Lhakang, as well as holy mountains
and holy lakes.
The Yarlung River State Class
Scenic Area is the only one of its kind
in China. It boasts snow-covered mountains,
glaciers, pastures, unspoilt river valley,
and places of historic interest. The prefecture
has three tourist sites featuring scenic
beauty and human interest, namely, Yamzhog
Yumco Lake Scenic Area, Samye Scenic Area
and Holy Lakes Scenic Area.
Native produces include pulu
woven woolen fabrics, Tibetan joss sticks
and kardian cushions.
Shannan Prefecture is an area
with sound transport facilities. Lhasa Gonggar
Airport is located in Gyizholing Town of
the prefecture’s Gonggar County.
Located in central south part
of Tibet, Xigaze Prefecture abuts Bhutan
and Nepal. Covering an area of 180,000 square
km, it is home mainly to Tibetans. Other
ethnic groups found here include the Han,
Hui, Mongolian, Naxi, plus Sherpa people.
The prefecture is home to many
plateau pastures, fields, forests, and snow-covered
peaks. The Qomolangma Nature Reserve boasts
the world's highest most intact vertical
eco-system. Major places of historical interest
include Tashilhungpo Monastery, Sagya Monastery,
ruins of the Zongshan Mountain Resisting
the British Invaders Site, Xialhu Monastery,
Deqoi Monastery, Zholma Lhakang and other
cultural relics units, as well as the Natang
Monastery, Rongbu Monastery, Palkor Monastery
and the site of the former Parlha Manor.
Xigaze Prefecture is major area
for the development of mountaineering in
Tibet partly because it boasts five peaks
each rising at least 8,000 meters above
sea level: Qomolangma (8,844.43 meters),
Lho Tse (8,516m), Makalu (8,463m), Cho Oyu
(8,201m) and Xixabangma (8,012m). In the
past two decades or so, China has opened
44 high peaks and mountaineering routes.
Foreign mountaineering teams climbing Qomolangma
now number over 20 a year.
Native produce of the prefecture
includes wooden bowls wrapped in silver,
tea tray and frames, Tibetan carpets, golden
thread hats, Tibetan knives and kardian
Located in western Tibet, Ngari
Prefecture abuts Kashmir, India and Nepal
to the south and west. With the border extending
116 km, the prefecture has over 60 mountain
mouths leading to other parts of the world.
Of the seven counties under its jurisdiction,
three engage entirely in livestock breeding,
and four in mixed farming and livestock
breeding. It covers an area of 303,000 square
km, with relatively low population density.
The prefecture holds an important
place in China’s cultural and economic
exchanges with the west. It is home to ancient
civilization of Zhangzhung and the Bon religion.
With an average elevation of
4,500 meters, the prefecture is full of
scenic wonders including glaciers, extensive
plateau plant coverage, Gobi desert, rippling
rivers and lakes, green fields, clay forests,
and wildlife. Its Shiqianhe River, Kongquehe
River, Xiangquanhe River and Maquanhe River
are respectively sources of the Indus, Ganges,
Sutlej and Yarlung Zangbo Rivers. It is
also home to the sites of many ancient civilizations
such as the ruins of Guge Kingdom, Toding
Monastery, Donggar Frescos and Ritog Cliff
Paintings. In Burang County is the holy
mountain of Kangrenboqe, the chief peak
of Kangdese Mountains, and the holy lake
Mapang Yumco. Both hold an important place
in Asian religious history. Ngari Prefecture
also has five world-class tourist sites,
18 State class ones, 48 regional level ones.
Tourism has grown into a major contributor
to local economic growth.
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