Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (1994, 2000, 2001)

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Tibet 1952. Potala Palace, 400 RMB.

China 1952. Potala Palace, 800 RMB.

The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. 

The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m. Also founded in the 7th century, the Jokhang Temple Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. 

Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's former summer palace, constructed in the 18th century, is a masterpiece of Tibetan art. 

The beauty and originality of the architecture of these three sites, their rich ornamentation and harmonious integration in a striking landscape, add to their historic and religious interest. 

  • China 1952. Potala Palace, issued for the Liberation of Tibet. Note that there are two more stamps in the set. 

Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century, Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill of Lhasa, Tibet. 

Destroyed by lightning and war, Potala Palace had been rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1645. Since then, Potala Palace has become the seat of Dalai Lamas and also the political center of Tibet. 

The thirteenth Dalai Lama extended it to the present size, 117 meters (384 ft) in height and 360 meters (1,180 ft) in width, covering an area of more than 130, 000 sq meters (about 32 acres). 

Mainly comprised by the White Palace (administerial building) and the Red Palace (religious building), Potala Palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks. 

Upon entering the East Portal, visitors will come into the Deyang Shar courtyard where Dalai Lamas watched Tibetan opera. West of the courtyard is the White Palace. 

As the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas, the White Palace is a seven-floor building originally built in 1645. The wall of the palace was painted to white to convey peace and quiet. 

The top floor consists of the East Chamber of Sunshine and the West Chamber of Sunshine. Because of the sunshine in the chambers all year round, the East and West Chamber were the places where Dalai Lamas live, work and study. 


  • Hong Kong (China) 2003. Potala Palace. Scan by courtesy of Mr. Mario Villena (Spain). 

Hong Kong (China) 2003. Potala Palace.

Standing on the spacious balcony, visitors can look down on beautiful Lhasa. In the center of the Potala Palace the Red Palace exists. Built in 1690 after the death of the Fifth Dailai Lama, the wall of the palace was painted to red, representing stateliness and power. 

The Red Palace is renowned for its religious status, gorgeous stupas and precious culture relics. 

Potala Palace, photograph.

Living on the "roof of the world" and at the foot of the snow mountains, the Tibetan people in the Tibet Autonomous Region have created splendid culture and arts, including a sea of rare cultural relics, with unique ethnic style from generation to generation.

China 1995. Art Work from Tibet. Stamp #1 of four. China 1995. Art Work from Tibet. Stamp #2 of four. China 1995. Art Work from Tibet. Stamp #3 of four. China 1995. Art Work from Tibet. Stamp #4 of four.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa is assumed to be the biggest building of the world, its size being only competed by the Parliament Building in Budharest (Romania). The 14th Dalai Lama has been living in exile since 1959, when he fled the Chinese Communist regime of Tibet. The Potala Palace now houses a museum. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in China (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section China for further information about the individual properties.  

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Revised 24 jun 2007  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus
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