Lhasa, Cultural heritage, Urban Transformation and Human Rights
Lhasa community, world heritage and human rights
-Amund Sinding Larsen
Tryambakesh Kumar Shukla
Lhasa – History
• Lhasa, a holy city for Buddhist.
• Seat of Dalai Lama’s Political Power
• Was Largest Polity in Tibetan Plateau.
• He constructed The Potala Palace and
The Norbulingka Palace.
• Physical and symbolic center of
• By 1950, Lhasa had an area of 1.5 sq.
km surrounded by a “Lingkor”.
• Population was 15,000.
1994 – The Potala Palace 2001- The Norbulingka Palace 2000 – The Jokhang Temple
Circumambulation Route in Lhasa
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Lhasa – Chinese Control, Changing Urban form and Heritage
Source: The Temples of Lhasa, Tibetan Buddhist Architecture
from 7th to the 21st century.
• People’s Republic of China took over
Lhasa in 1951.
• Resulted in demographic
• Lhasa became crowded resulting
poverty, lack of basic services.
• Between 1995 and 2005, old traditional
buildings were demolished and larger
housing projects were started.
• Out of 700 historic buildings, only 300
survived till 1995 and this number
reduced to 50 in 2005.
• Lhasa covers area of 80-90 sq.km in
2005, with population of 500,000 which
comprises mostly the migrants.
• Old Lhasa or Old neighborhoods are on
verge of extinction.
The Barkhor: The circumambulation road
Tibetans going around Jokhang.
Buildings on Barkhor street
Barkhor shopping mall
Old City district of Lhasa.
Demolition work ouside Old Lhasa.
Impact on People of Tibet
• Socio-cultural lifestyle
• Religion and Religious Lifestyle
• Sinicisation (Chinalisation)
World Heritage Impact
• Recognition of Lhasa nationally and internationally
• What is the future of Lhasa?
• Will Lhasa be able to maintain its cultural identity?
• Who and what defines the cultural identity of Lhasa?
• While planning cities, do these cultural characteristics of a
city needs to be taken into account?