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Mountaineering in Tibet Autonomous Region

In the middle of the Asian Continent lies a "sea of great mountains", which is unique on earth. It is the Tibetan Plateau, known as the "roof of the world", where there are numerous summits and lakes at an average altitude of more than 4000 meters. The Tibet Autonomous Region is located in the Southeast Tibetan Plateau.

In the West Plateau is the northeast section of the well-known Hengduan Shan Range, generally called the East Tibetan Area of High Mountains and Canyons, with its steep mountain tops and most of the northern peaks at an altitude of about 5200 meters. As one goes down to the south from the north, he will notice that the height difference between t he mountain tops and the canyon bottoms increases, reaching over 2500 meters at the extreme point. Snows at the top never melt all the year round, the forests on the mountain side dense and luxuriant, the piedmont field green all the seasons - a beautiful view of the south region of steep crayons.

Situated amid the Kunlun Shan Range, the Tanggula Shan, Gangdisi Shan and the Nyainguentangulha Shan, north Tibet is called "Qiangtang" in Tibetan language which means "the highland in the north:, its usual name being the North Tibetan Plateau with an altitude of 4500 meters. Many basin areas are dotted among the perfectly round mountain groups sloping mildly with a height difference of only 300-500 meters.

Lying in Southeast Tibet and stretching over 2000 kilometers along the nation border, the world-famous Himalayas have produced a lot of summits at an average altitude of more than 6000 meters, ten of which are more than 8000 meters in height, not to mention the 50 peaks reaching 7000 meters. With its middle section on the Sino-Nepal border, Qomolangma Feng (peak) enjoys an altitude of 8848 meters and thus becomes the third pole on the earth surface. Towering and precipitous, the peaks of the world level have aroused the interest of numerous alpinists and become the most attractive region.

Here, the fossils of ancient ocean organisms such as ichthyosaurs and flying fish are found one after another. Consequently, the geologists are sure that this region was an endless sea belonging to the Mediterranean sedimentary area. But it still remains to be an interesting mystery to the scholars as to what made it rise almost 10000 meters from many meters below sea level and become a large group of dense and towering mountains of over 8000 meters above sea level - "the roof of the world". Geologists are divided in explaining the phenomenon, and therefore scholars of different schools and nationalities regard it as an ideal place for geological study and investigations.

The complex geological structure provides Tibet a marvelous spectacle of highland unique in the world. Looking into the distance, with the lofty mountain peaks and the endless azure sky before the eyes, one will feel that the world is in fact so vast. In spite of the cold climate here, there are rich resources of terrestrial heat deep in the icebergs and snowy peaks, which prove to be not only the important energy for economic construction but also a fascinating resource of tourism with a lot of trace elements in the streaming hot water column.

With its extraordinary land features, this area has brought about many famous rivers in Asia and produced more than 1500 highland lakes of different sizes. Staying in it, one finds himself in a world where crystal-clear lakes reflect the jade-like snowy crags, the white cloud dancing along the undulating mountain groups, the vast grassland and the magnificent mountain chains combining to make a grand view. One would not believe himself to be living in reality rather than in a colorful picture until he comes to see the herdsmen's tents, docile sheep and cattle dotted in it, while some unfamiliar birds are flying here and a few wild animals never seen before are wandering.

With its long history and rich culture, Tibet proves to be the place of origin for Buddism as interpreted in Tibet of China (Lamaism) Everything here displays the unique historical and cultural feature and diffuses the flavor of traditional civilization. The murals in Tibetan style, for example, are present on the walls around Jokhang Monastery and all over the halls in the city of Lhasa (the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region), serving to depict the laudable feats of the historical figures and to illustrate the mythologies. The most precious of all is a gilded Buddha statue of Sakyamuni brought along by Princess Wen Cheng when she came to Tibet from Changan, the capital of China in Tang Dynasty. It is believed that the statue truly reveals what Skamania was like at the age of twelve and is as tall as he was then. Among the temples, Xiaozhaosi (Temple) is the site of one of the Mizong Jingxueyuan (Places to study Lamaism scriptures) of the Dge-lugs-pa which is one of the three sections of Lamaism, the Buddhism as interpreted by the Tibetans. In the temple stands the gilded Buddha statue of Sakyamuni, reputed to the as tall as Sakyamuni was at the age of eight. This statue, however, was brought here by Princess Chizhun from Nepal. Lying among the precipices and steep walls in Yerba, Zayeba Temple is employed as a place where the well-known and eminent monks sit in meditation and cultivate themselves according to the Buddhist doctrine. It is said that there were once 108 caves in all in the temple, but only dozens of them are preserved to this day. The acient Tibetan art of architecture manifests its quintessence in the famous Potala Palace built against hills and totaling an area of 130000 square kilometers. Besides, there are Norbulingka (Lingka means "park" in Tibetan language), used as a summer resort by the Dalai Lamas of the past generations and meaning "a park of treasures". As a garden with the most salient features in Tibet, it enjoys verdant trees, a lush growth of flowers and plants as well as uniquely solemn shape of the palace. Lending much splendor to this garden of mountains and forests are the placid and beautiful water and the winding water-side pavilions while precious birds and animals of various kinds are raised there. One of the six Zongzhusi (Temple) of the Dge-lugs-pa Sect of Lamaism, Tashilunpo Lamasery in Shigatse, which is situated at the foot of hills and beside the rivulets with their towering and lofty many-storeyed buildings, golden tops and jade-like tiles. Looking magnificent and solumn, the temple has four Jingxueyuan (places to study religious scriptures), which is named "Bei Cang" in Tibetan Language. On the Xiangquan He River bank in Zanda Xian of north Tibet are the remains of Guge Empire, constructed by the descendents of Dama (the Tibetan regime in ancient China) in the 10th century. Moreover, what attracts the botanists, zoologists and tourists are the natural reservation centers of national level such as Gangxi, Janglin, Zayu, Baje and Qomolangma. Together with its immense natural beauty, the rich and colorful Tibetan culture remains to be remote, solemn, enchanting and mysterious.

After many years of construction, the Tibetan economy has been greatly developed. In Lhasa, there are internal airlines to cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Xi'an, with an external one to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Arterial highways from Sichuan to Tibet, Qinghai - Tibet, Xinjiang - Tibet and Yunnan - Tibet, form a highway system, with places like Lhasa, Shigatse, Chamdo and Nagqu as its centers. Except the county of Medog, every county in Tibet enjoys way transportation.

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