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Shigatse, Tibet Province

    The town of Shigatse (Xigaze) is called "Center of Rear Tibet", sits at the confluence of Nyangchu and Yarlung Tsangbo Rivers about 250 kilometers to the west of Lhasa. This second largest city in Tibet at an elevation of 3,800 meters has a history of more than five centuries. The region around is historically known as the Rear Tibet and Shigatse has been its political, business, cultural and religious center. The residence for all the Panchen Lamas has been traditionally in the town.

    The city located between altitude 29 north and longitude 88east, with a population of 70,000. The annual rainfall is 300 to 450 mm, the average annual temperature is 6 and the frost-free period is 160 days.

    Shigatse region enjoys a moderate climate with plenty of sunshine. The fertile river valley is one of the granaries of Tibet. The town proper has undergone a construction boom with roads leading to Ngari in the west, the Qomolangma Nature Reserve and border with Nepal in the south, Nakchu to the north and Lhasa and Shannan to the east.

    The ancient town of Shigatse has become well-known for its past and rich cultural tradition with Palcho, Sakya, Pingcuolin and Juenang monasteries and Pala Estate as well as the Qomolangma Nature Reserve covering an area of over 30,000 square kilometers in the nearby region. The annual ceremony of display of Buddha tapestry, the Sorcerer's Dance Festival, the Ximuqingpo Festival at the Shalu Monastery and the active local Tibetan theater are popular attractions to visitors.

    With its rich cultural tradition, majestic monasteries, breath-taking scenery and convenient location, Shigatse has become on of the most popular tourist destination in Tibet.

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