Potala Palace, regarded as the highest ancient palace in the world, stands on the Red Hill of the heart of Lhasa city, resembling a magnificent fortress in the heaven. The palace is painted white and red, which means the peace and stateliness in Tibetan cultures. Used to be the home of the Dalai Lamas, Potala Palace once was the religious and political center of Tibet, which makes it the best place to learn about the unique Tibetan Buddhism of the world. For those who want to visit in Tibet, Potala Palace is also a must see attraction in their schedule.
The Red Palace
The Potala Palace is composed of two parts, the Red Palace at the top middle and the White Palace as two wings. Painted deeply red and richly decorated with painting, jewelled work, carving and other ornament, the palace was once the religious center to hold ceremonies. The highlights here include the The Great West Hall, Dharma Cave, The Saint's Chapel, The Tomb of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.
Regarded as the largest hall in the Potala Palace, the Great West Hall is famous for the beautiful murals painted on its inner walls, and most of them are some stories or Buddha in the Tibetan Buddhism. The Dharma Cave and the Saint's Chapel are the only two remained architectures of the 7th century which still well preserve the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wen Cheng, and Princess Bhrikuti. Located west of the Great West Hall, the Tombs of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama is the giant stupa which contains priceless jewels and one ton of solid gold. Elaborate murals in traditional styles of Tibetan culture depict many events of the life of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama during the early 20th century.
The White Palace
Surrounding the Red Palace is the White Palace, which used to be the dwelling place of the former Dalai Lamas and the official buildings of Tibet local government. The color white of these palaces symbolizes the peace and quiet in Tibet. Located on the fourth floor, The Great East Hall is one of the most important halls in the White Palace, used to be the site for momentous religious and political events. The fifth and sixth floors are used as the living quarters and offices of regents while the seventh floor, the top one, is the living quarters of Dalai Lama consisting of two palaces named the East Chamber of Sunshine and the West Chamber of Sunshine due to the plentiful sunshine.
Named after a holy hill in the South India, the Potala Palace is also a sacred place for those who interesed in the Tibetan cultures. It is not just a gift of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to greet his bride Princess Wen Cheng in the Tang dynasty of China, but a gift to the people all over the world. Due to its magnificent architectures and rich cultures, the palace was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, and recently named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the television show Good Morning America and the newspaper USA Today.