Hillman Wonders Hillman Wonders of the World

potala palace

Potala Palace Why the Potala Palace in China is special
This massive palace (now a museum) in Lhasa, Tibet was once the winter religious and political seat of Tibet under the leadership of the Dalai Lama.

Potala Palace  tips and insights
The name Potala is pronounced: poh-TAH-lah

Spiritual ambiance
The Potala Palace's interior is today filled with the same sounds (chanting) and scents (incense and yak-butter burning lamps) that visitors encountered centuries ago.

Once the world's tallest
The Potala Palace was the world's tallest occupied building from 1653 to 1889.

Stairs only
The 13-story Potala Palace has no elevator. There are three sets of stairways, which are steep and ladder type. Only the Dalai Lama was allowed to use the middle one.

Great views
The views from the Potala Palace's roof and balconies are spectacular. Below lies Lhasa city and, beyond, the valley countryside and distant snow-capped Himalayan mountains.

The Potala Palace is 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. Therefore, it is advisable to rest during your first day in Tibet to acclimate yourself to the thin air before exploring the Potala Palace.

Two palaces
The 1000-room Potala Palace is really two palaces: A red one at the top and a white one below it (see photo on page one).
The Potala Palace has outdoor ramp steps skirting its flanks.

The current building was constructed in the 17th century on the foundation ruins of a fortress palace built a thousand years earlier.

Sloping cliff
The cliff face behind the front bottom half of the Potala Palace slopes backward. This enables the hill to bear some of the building's massive gravity induced weight load. The architects added more support by embedding some of the building's structural beams into the cliff.

Location in China
Potala Palace Map
go to top