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Potala Palace Plaza Renovation Project Finished
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Completion of the Potala Palace plaza renovation project was celebrated in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on Saturday amid heavy drumbeat, fluttering colorful banners, and merrily spraying fountains.


Qiangba Puncog, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, said the renovation of the square was part of the central Chinese government's efforts to protect Potala Palace, a world heritage site. 


"The repaired plaza is a combination of modernity and Tibetan cultural features and is a multi-function square which can be used for purposes of rest-taking, recreation, cultural activities and get-togethers," said the leading regional official.


The project was completed late last month. The new square, covering 18 hectares, will be the main venue for the upcoming celebration of the 40th founding anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Region.


The project, costing 150 million yuan (about US$18.5 million), includes brick-paving, building greenbelt, a musical fountain and installing broadcasting and power facilities. It started in late March.




The Potala Palace, located in the northwestern corner of Lhasa, was first built by Tibetan King Songtsa Gambo in the 7th century in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and expanded during the 17th century.


It features the essence of ancient Tibetan architectural art. It was added into the list of world cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994.


(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2005)

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