Introduction of Lhasa
City and capital of Tibet, 250 mi NE of Darjeeling, India. Capital of Tibet by the ninth century a.d., it later lost its position as capital but grew in religious importance. Made capital again in 1642, it was occupied by China in 1951. Following the Tibetan revolt of 1959, the Chinese destroyed many monastic institutions. Formerly a major Buddhist religious center, it was known for centuries as the Forbidden City because of its inaccessibility and the hostility of the Buddhist lamas. It was first visited by Europeans in 1904. It is also the home of the Potala Palace, formerly the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, and now a popular tourist attraction and UNESCO World Heritage Site.