Area 1,220,000 square km
Population 2.87 million (2012)
Capital City Lhasa


Situated in the southwest frontier of China, Tibet Autonomous Region covers a total area of 1,220,000 square kilometres with population of 2,870,000 (2012). Standing in the southern part of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the whole autonomous region overwhelmingly comprises mountain range with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters above sea level. With an average of over 4,500 meters above sea level the North Tibetan Plateau occupies two- thirds of the whole range. Basins Are surrounded by hills ranging from 300 to 500 meters high, south of the North Tibetan Plateau, lying between Mountain Kailash (Gangdise) and the Himalayas, stretches the valley of Tsangpo (Yarlung Zangbo) River and its tributaries, commonly known as South Tibetan Valley.

This valley, 4,000 metres above sea level, slops down from west to east with Lhasa River Valley plain as its widest section. From southern edge to China-Nepal border where Mount Qomolangms stands upright,8848 meters above sea level, lies the Himalayas whose elevation average 6,000 meters above sea level. To the east is the north range of the famous Hengduan Mountains, known as East Tibetan Gully Area. Its north section, 5,200 metres above sea level, is flat on the top; whereas its south part, 4000 metres above sea level, abruptly falls down 2,500 meters from the top to the bottom.

The Tsangpo River, the largest in Tibet, whose upper reaches called Tachog Khabab (Maquan River), gets water from Jiema Yangzong glacier in the Himalayas, and stretches 2,057 kilometres before it flows into India, where it is called the Brahmaputra River. Other large rivers such as the Nujiang River, the Lancang River and the Jinsha River are all full of deep falls and rapids and Tibet abounds in water resources.

The Namtso (Namco) Lake in North Tibetan Plateau is the second largest salt water lake in China, covering an area of 1,920 square kilometres. The Kyiring Tso (Siling Co) Lake covers an area of 1,865 square kilometres. In addition, there are the Yardak Yumtso (Yarzhoyum Co) Lake, Puma Yumtso Lake and Mapham Yumtso Lake. These lakes all have a great influence on Tibetans' livelihood.


Tibet as a whole has plateau climate----low temperature, scanty rainfall, thin air and plentiful sunshine. As a result of monsoon blowing in from India, the southern Tibet is warmer and more humid. Its average annual temperature is between -3ºC and 12ºC (26.6 ºF and 53.6 ºF). In January, the temperature remains between -18ºC and 3.6ºC (-0.4 ºF and 38.48 ºF) and between 7ºC and 19ºC (44.6 ºF and 66.2 ºF) in July. Tibet is one of those areas in China that get longest time of sunshine everyday. Lhasa and Shigats (Xigatse) both enjoy the fame of the "City of Sunlight".

Brief History of Tibet

In ancient times, Tibet was known as Qiang or Rong and called Turpan in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1280) Dynasties. In the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties, Tibet was under the jurisdiction of the China central government. Tibet was divided into U, Tsang, Kham and Ngari in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The present name, Tibet, appeared in 1663. Tibet Autonomous Region was set up on September 9, 1956 after the Communist Party established People's Republic of China in 1949.

Tibet Local Products

Agriculture is well-developed in south-eastern Tibet thanks to large rainfall, warm weather and forests. Millet, wheat, peas are the main produce. Rice, sugar cane and bananas are grown in Loyul district. Vegetable production has become more spread-over and experiments of planting tobacco, tea business and sugar beets have shown remarkable results. In animal husbandry areas, flocks of yaks, sheep and goats look for their food everywhere. Snow leopards, bears and antelopes peer through thick foliages.

Such precious herbs as musk, deer antlers, caterpillars and bulb of fritillary are produced. Deposits of coal, iron, copper, borax, and placer, natural alkaline and salt have been opened up. In addition to Tibet's traditional handicrafts is Tibetan tweed and incense. Tibet has established industries such as electricity, wooden textile, chemistry, paper making, matches and construction material. Tibet is rich in terrestrial heat. Fruits include peaches, pears, apricots and apples. Lake teem with fish of many kinds.

Tibet Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions

POTALA PALACE: The Potala Palace dominates the city of Lhasa from its site atop Red Mountain (Marpo Ri). It served as a fortress and as the residence of the Dalai Lamas, and so was the center of both political and religious power in Tibet, remaining today an immensely popular pilgrimage site. Divided into White and Red Palaces, the complex rises 110 m (360 ft) high and extends 360 m (1,200 ft) across, and was one of the world’s tallest buildings before the era of modern skyscrapers. Rising thirteen stories and containing over a thousand rooms and some 200,000 images, the palace complex took the work of more than 7,000 laborers and 1,500 artists for more than fifty years to complete. Beneath the fortress are the dungeons where those who ran afoul of the Lamaist theocracy were imprisoned and tortured. (More about Potala Palace)

THE JOKHANG TEMPLE: The magnificent Jokhang Temple, founded more than 1,300 years ago, is situated in the center of Lhasa. In front of the gate stands a stone tablet from the Tang Dynasty, bearing both Chinese characters and Tibetan script. Nearby is the Tang willow tree planted by Princess Wen Cheng.

DREPUNG MONASTERY: Another famous building in Lhasa is the Drepung Monastery located six miles north of the city. Standing on a high cliff, its many tiers leaning into a steep mountain face, the monastery is built in traditional Tibetan style. Founded in 1416, it was one of the centers of the "yellow hat" sect, and in its time was the largest of the three great monasteries near Lhasa, housing 10,000 lamas. The temples of the monastery are lavishly decorated with statues of the Buddha, Zongkaba, and others of the Buddhist pantheon. The monastery is still open to worshippers.

MOUNT QOMOLANGMA: Mount Qomolangma, meaning "goddess the third" in the Tibetan language, or Mt. Everest as known in the West, is the world's highest peak, more than 39,000 feet high.

It is everybody's wish to see the world's highest peak, of course, but it is best to admire it from afar, and leave the climbing to the mountaineers.

NGARI REGION: Ngari (It has different ways of transliteration, such as mNgac-ris and Ali, etc) a miraculous district in the west of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China, is called "the ridge on the roof of the world". (Click for more about Ngari Region)