Photographer's Note

Reaching Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in the afternoon of the second day of my bus journey from Golmud in Qinghai state, was a childhood dream finally come true. It had basically been a closed city for hundreds of years, visited by very few foreigners until the 1950's. I never imagined I could possibly go there, but now I had. It was an overwhelming feeling.

My first walk along the crowded narrow streets in the central parts of the city confirmed that I had every reason to be excited. At the same time I was astonished to find more restaurants and meet more English speaking locals than anywhere in China since Beijing several weeks earlier. Lhasa had already become an important tourist destination.

I was a bit worried that taking photos could be a problem. Would people object? Would the harsh light at the high altitude (about 3,600 meters) make exposure difficult? As it turned out during the week there was not much need to worry. Tibetans are among the nicest and most cheerful people I have met, and very few showed any objection to my camera. I (usually) made sure, though, not to point it directly at the ever present Chinese soldiers.

There are two sights in Lhasa more important than everything else. One is the 17th century Potala Palace, until 1959 the residence of the Dalai Lama and headquarters of the Tibetan government. The other is the medieval Jokhang Temple, the most important Buddhist shrine in Tibet, whose oldest parts were built in the 7th century.

Today's main photo was taken from the roof of the Jokhang, showing the Potala in the distance.

Here is a larger version.

I took one WS looking straight down on the square in front of the temple. Another WS shows the Potala from another angle in another part of the city.

All photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11689 W: 564 N: 22466] (97480)
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