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White Palace

The Potala Palace we see today was expanded after the 17th century. The main buildings are divided into the part customarily called the White Palace for the Dalai Lama to hold political and religious activities and for living, and the part customarily called the Red Palace containing the stupas and sacrificial halls of all previous Dalai Lamas.

The White Palace consists of many scripture halls of various sizes, libraries, storehouses and the rooms for the people (numbering about 80) providing various services to the Dalai Lama. First built in 1645, the White Palace flanks the Potala Palace east and west based on the Goddess of Mercy Hall built during the period of Songtsan Gambo. The construction lasted eight years. After the White Palace was completed, the 5th Dalai Lama moved there from the Zhaibung Monastery and remained until he died. Hence, the Potala Palace became a holy place for monks and pilgrims. All the successive Dalai Lamas lived, handled official business and held religious activities there in winter; hence it is also called the "Winter Palace". The seven-storey main building stands to the west of Teyamshag Square, covered with golden Buddhist pillars and enclosed with white walls.

The Potala Palace, a world-famous building, is on UNESCO's World Heritage List (1978)

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