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Potala Palace's treasure hall opens to visitors
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The Treasure Hall of the Potala Palace in the heart of Tibet's regional capital Lhasa opened to visitors Tuesday, presenting a dazzling display of Buddha statues, porcelain ware, Sutra and the Thangka, the Tibetan art of scroll painting.

The three-story, Tibetan-style structure displays about 200 cultural heritage items, the oldest of which are a set of Buddhist classics inscribed in palm leaves that date back to the 9th century, said Jampa Gelsang, curator of the Potala Palace.

He said the treasure hall was renovated from a former aristocrat's home at the cost of 19 million yuan (2.8 million U.S. dollars). The renovation began in September 2006 and was completed last month.

The treasure hall was part of the mammoth renovation and preservation project of the Potala Palace that has cost more than 200 million yuan.

The hall, located in the Snowy City at the foot of the Potala Palace, does not charge extra admission fees as long as visitors hold a 30-yuan ticket to the Snowy City.

A visit to the Potala Palace that perches atop the craggy hills, however, costs 200 yuan during the travel rush from May 1 to Oct. 31 and 100 yuan in the slack season from Nov. 1 to April 30.

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