Gyangtse Old Street and Dzong Fortress

Gyangtse Old Street


An old street
An old street near Palkhor Monastery
 Gyangtse Old Street Pictures
The two photos below show an old street in the vicinity of Palkhor Monastery. It's a good place for one to capture the local life of the residents. The street is long and comfortably wide, and is paved with flagstones and clay. Houses stand on both sides of the street, one and two storey, built in the local architectural style and decorated with snow-white walls and vermeil door and beams.

Walking along the street, one might see children playing together and fowl scrabbling around the houses. Carriages are the most common everyday mode of transportation for the local residents, although a bicycle supplements them sometimes. One seldom catches sight of a car or lorry driving through the street. Hence, the air here is excellent, unlike other urban areas that are heavily polluted. Visitors here will see a harmonious life between human beings and animals, and between mankind and nature.

The local residents are very hospitable and love to warmly welcome guests both local and foreign to have a rest in their homes. Visitors are likely to be served with regional food and drink while being told about the local places of interest. They will also hear moving stories about what happened in the area long ago, and stories about their hosts' families. Not surprising then, that visitors often wish to be guided by the residents for the rest of their trip if they could speak the same language!

Traditional old building
Traditional old building
Tibetan people on the old street in Gyangtse
Tibetan people on the old street in Gyangtse
Some of the houses that front on the main street are self-operated stores, and sell many varieties of local products. One will find old-styled jewelry made from different local materials, religious items, unique Tibetan knives, old used coins, snuff kettles, and an interesting variety of local gadgets. Each item is completely hand-made and reveals the rich Tibetan flavor that has been passed down through generations for many centuries.

Dzong Fortress

Dzong Fortress
 Dzong Fortress Pictures
Different from other scenic spots celebrating Tibetan Buddhism, Dzong Fortress is famous for an inspiring and touching story. In 1904, British troops invaded Gyangtse but encountered fierce opposition from the strong and brave Gyangtse people. They defended the City from a fortress on Dzong Hill, using primitive guns and cannons, swords, and even bows and arrows to fight against their invaders. In June, the invading troops bombed Dzong Fortress and exploded its supply depot. The Gyangtse troops persisted under this dire situation. After running out of ammunition, they resorted to throwing stones to fight against their powerful enemy. Even after they ran out of stones, the remaining soldiers refused to surrender and instead jumped off the cliff to show their patriotism.

The famous cliff where this fight took place is located in the center of Gyangtse. It is about 125 meters (410 feet) high and has an altitude of 4,020 meters (13,189 feet). There is a monument that commemorates this heroic event. Opposite Dzong Hill stands Palkhor Monastery, adding its color and brightness to the city. To the northwest, Nianchu River flows slowly, irrigating the farmlands around it.

Gyangtse people are enjoying a peaceful and happy life now. From the top of Dzong hill, there is a bird's-eye view of the city, with big and small houses brushed in pale grey dotting the landscape. Colorful prayer flags fly on their rooftops. It is a peaceful and harmonious picture!

The fortress is worth a visit when traveling to Tibet.

Dzong Fortress, Shigatse Dzong Fortress
Tips: Always ascend slowly and carefully to avoid altitude sickness.


Admission Fee: CNY 30
Recommended Time for a Visit: 09:00 - 18:00

media recommendationfeatured on media