Tibetan Provinces / Shigatse
Xigaze - A Granary of Tibet
|Location of Shigatse in Tibet|
officially known as Xigazê, is a prefecture-level city of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, with an area of 182,000 km2 (70,271 sq mi). It is located within the historical Tsang province of Tibet.
About 250km southwest of Lhasa and 90km northwest of Gyantse lies Shigatse (Rìkāzé), Tibet’s second-largest town and the traditional capital of Tsang province. Shigatse is a modern, sprawling city, with wide boulevards humming with traffic (even in the pedestrian-only lane). As you drive in across the plains, the site of the Potala-lookalike Shigatse Dzong, high on a hilltop overlooking the town, will probably fire your imagination, but the fort is empty and most of what you see dates from a 2007 reconstruction. It is the Tashilhunpo Monastery, to the west of town, that is the real draw. Since the Mongol sponsorship of the Gelugpa order, Shigatse has been the seat of the Panchen Lama, and this seat was traditionally based in the monastery.
The modern city is divided into a tiny old Tibetan town huddled at the foot of the fort, and a rapidly expanding modern Chinese town that has all the charm of, well, every other expanding modern Chinese town.
During the second week of the fifth lunar month (around June/July), Tashilhunpo Monastery becomes the scene of a three-day festival when a huge thangka is unveiled.
The Lhasa–Xigazê Railway connects Xigazê Railway Station with Lhasa and further connects with Qinghai via Qinghai–Tibet Railway.It takes about 3 hours to travel between Lhasa and Shigatse by train. It can be returned from Lhasa within one day.
Shigatse Peace Airport began operations on 30 October 2010 after an Airbus A319 landed safely, This makes it Tibet's fifth commercial airport. It is located 43 kilometres from Samzhubzê District at Jangdam Township at an altitude of 3,782 metres. The airport is designed to handle up to 230,000 passengers annually by 2020.
China National Highway 318 and China National Highway 219 are the main roads in and out of Shigatse.