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End nears for Potala Palace renovation
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Second-phase repair work on the iconic Potala Palace in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is nearing completion, an administrative official said yesterday.

Champa Kelsang, chief of the administration for Potala Palace, said "some 150 million yuan (US$22 million) has been spent on the second phase of the repairs of the Potala Palace. The repair work should be finished by the year end."

The official said workers had nearly finished reinforcing sleeper walls cylindrical structures used to support floor joists in the foundation of the main buildings. The renovation of 17 ancient buildings, including the "white palace" and the "red palace," was also nearly done.

Mud erosion, stones peeling away, and large cracks on eight sleeper walls in the foundation to the north and south of the "white palace" had to be repaired.

The Potala Palace was constructed in the 7th century and is on the world cultural heritage list. The first round of repairs began in 1989 and lasted five years, costing 55 million yuan.

The central government of China has allocated 333 million yuan to repair Norbu Lingka and the Sakya Monastery in addition to the Potala Palace. Work began in 2002.

Norbu Lingka was the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Sagya Monastery houses numerous classical books on Buddhism and precious paintings.

(Shanghai Daily November 24, 2008)

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