The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







This is about the capital city of Tibet. For other meanings of Lhasa, see Lhasa (computing) or Lhasa de Sela .

Lhasa (pop. 200,000 but growing rapidly); Tibetan: ལྷ་ས, Traditional Chinese: 拉薩, Simplified Chinese: 拉萨, Hanyu Pinyin: Lāsà), sometimes called Llasa, is the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, and is the traditional capital of Tibet. It is also the traditional home of the Dalai Lama.

Lhasa means "Place of the Gods", although in Old Tibetan documents it is written Rasa either 'place of the goat' or 'place of a courtyard'. Its altitude is approximately 3,650 meters (12,000 ft) above sea level.



Local historical records stated that the 33rd Yarlung King, Songsten Gampo shifted the Tibetan capital to Lhasa.

In the first half of the 20th century several western explorers made celebrated journeys to the city, including Francis Younghusband, Alexandra David-Néel and Heinrich Harrer.




Currently, 87% of the city's population consist of ethnic Tibetans. Recently, a large influx of the Han Chinese from the mainland have settled in the area, many of whom play an important role in Lhasa's economy.



The Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; other important buildings are the Jokhang, the Norbulingka , Drepung monastery and Sera monastery.

A 1,080-km (670-mile) Qinghai-Tibet Railroad to Lhasa is currently under construction.


  • Das, Sarat Chandra. 1902. Lhasa and Central Tibet. Reprint: Mehra Offset Press, Delhi. 1988.

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