The director of the Potala Palace, when
responding to the concern of UNESCO about Potala Palace, said: "Potala
Palace has so far enjoyed first-class preservation." (File
LHASA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The director of the Potala
Palace, when responding to the concern of UNESCO about Potala Palace, said:
"Potala Palace has so far enjoyed first-class preservation."
UNESCO disagrees and has expressed concern at the
palace becoming increasingly hemmed in by nondescript modern Chinese buildings.
"Seeing is believing. I hope the UNESCO officials can
carry outan on-the-spot investigation of the Potala Palace. A conclusion without
an investigation is meaningless," said Qiangba Gesang, palace director for 19
A year after its inauguration, the Qinghai-Tibet
railway has transported 1.5 million passengers into Tibet, nearly half of the
total tourists arrivals in the region. Concerns have arisen that the weight of
the tourist influx would pose a serious impact on the mud and wood structures of
the 13-storey palace.
"For the overcrowding of tourists, we have found
solutions," said Qiangba Gesang.
The palace currently restricts visitors to 2,300 a
day and stays open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
"The restriction of visitors proves our commitment to
the protection of Potala Palace," said Qiangba Gesang. "We can't fully satisfy
the needs of all tourists, but we have no other way aroundit."
Qiangba Gesang said the central government has kept a
close eyeon the preservation of Potala Palace, which was added to the list of
world cultural heritage sites by UNESCO in 1994.
In 2002, the central government invested a total
179.3 million yuan (about 23.6 million U.S. dollars) in the renovation of the
palace and plan to invest more in the near future, he said.
Potala Palace, the essence of ancient Tibetan
architectural art, was first built by the Tibetan King Songtsa Gambo in the 7th
century during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), and was extended during the 17th
century by the Dalai Lama.
The palace, together with the Norbu Lingka and the
Sakya Monastery, are the three main Tibetan cultural heritage sites.
The local government will invest 140 million yuan
(about 18.4 million U.S. dollars) to renovate the areas surrounding Norbu
Lingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama.