Tourist entry restriction protects Potala Palace
( 2003-08-15 09:29) (China Daily)
The Potala Palace, a tourist destination in the capital of Southwest China's
Tibet Autonomous Region, will now receive fewer visitors in order to protect one
of the greatest Tibetan artistic and architectural achievements.
The 1,300-year-old red and white palace, the former office compound of
Tibetan rulers which has served as the residence of Tibetan religious leaders,
the Dalai Lamas, since the 17th century, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage
Site in 1994.
It formerly received an average of 1,500 visitors and pilgrims every day,
with the record number of visitors in one day reaching 5,000.
To better protect the world-famous palace, local tourism and cultural relic
authorities decided at the end of May that the palace can receive no more than
850 visitors and pilgrims a day. It is now open six hours a day.
According to Qamba Gaisang, an official in charge of the management of the
palace, only 50 visitors are admitted into the palace every 20 minutes for four
hours in the morning, while the time span expands to 30 minutes for two hours in
"We were afraid that the heavy flow of visitors to the ancient palace might
cause the rafters to break and the ground to crack," Qamba said.