Our ‘Top 10’ series of Blog articles is written to provide you more insight into Tibet, it’s culture and people. We hope you enjoy them!
Top 10 - Interesting Facts about Tibet
1. Tibet is the ‘roof of the world’.
Tibet is located in the Himalayan Mountains on the Tibetan Plateau. The highest region in the world.
The elevation is 4,500m (14.763 ft) on average. Many tour companies offer small oxygen tanks to tourists upon arrival in order to facilitate the transition.
2. Tibet is the source of water for half the world.
Over 46 per cent of the world ‘s population depends on Tibetan rivers as their source of water.
3. Tibet declared Independance from China in 1913.
But China never forgot it, or officially recognised it. In 1950, the newly established Chinese Communist regime decided that Tibet should become a permanent part of the People’s Republic of China and launched an invasion. Reasons being, it provided China access to rich natural resources in the region and allowing it to militarize the strategically important border with India.
4. The Dalai Lama leads Tibet in Exile.
This officially occured on 31st March 1959. The Dalai Lama began living in permanent exile in India, settling in Dharamsala in Punjab. He then established a democratic shadow Tibetan government.
4. Tibet by land mass is the 10th largest nation on earth.
However due to the annexation of Tibet by China in 1950, which was achieved by force, many of Tibet’s regions have been disolved or combined with Chinese Provinces which has caused confusion over it’s true borders and size.
5. Tourists require Visa’s and must be accompanied.
Visitors to Tibet must have a permit pre-arranged prior to their arrival. In addition they must have a travel guide for the entire duration of their time in Tibet.
6. All Monasteries have customs and dress codes you must adhere to.
Some of the most popular attractions in Tibet are the many temples and monasteries throughout the country. Tourists pass through these buildings and areas frequently, creating the need for temple tourism guidelines to preserve the cultural importance of the sites. Matters like smoking, eating or shouting are prohibited.
Likewise, many temples prohibit visitors from taking photographs of Buddha statues at important sites. Occasionally, travelers may be able to pay a special fee to photograph the Buddhas, but often it is better to simply buy a print or postcard of the image.
7. Part of the famed ‘Silk Road’ runs through Tibet.
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting the East and West. For many centuries it was central to the cultural interaction between the regions. It was formally established during the Han Dynasty of China between 130BCE to 1453 CE.
8. Tibet hosts 3 UNESCO Heritage sites.
Tibet is home to three UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites. They are all located in the capital city of Lhasa. The Potala Palace, the Norbulingka Palace and the Jokhang Temple. Each beyond imagination in their scale, beauty and cultural importance.
9. Tibet has a sizable Sports scene.
And you thought Tibet was only about rolling hills and farming huh? Wrong! They are massively into sport just like any other country on the planet.
The number one favourite is Horse racing, followed closely by Yak racing. However Archery, Wrestling and ‘Tug of War’ all have their place in history and depending on the region they are occasionally preferred.
10. Yarlung Tsangpo is the deepest Canyon in the world.
Known in Tibetan as ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་ it is 2,840 km (1,760 mi) in length and with a basin size covering 912,000 km2 (352,000 sq mi). It therefore comes as no surpise that it is the deepest Canyon in the world. Far more than the world famous Grand Canyon!