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10:39 Oct 31 2011

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Parkhor Street witnesses great changes in China's Tibet
10:37, October 31, 2011  

The file photo taken on August 22, 2009 shows the sign of "China's Renowned Historical Cultural Street" at the Parkhor Street, in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. As one of the most distinct and attractive old blocks in the world, Parkhor Street is unique with contrastive features and stunning diversity. It is a place where Tibetan tradition meets modern fashion, religious sanctity mixes with commercial prosperity. Located in the center of Lhasa, surrounding the Jokhang Temple, it covers an area of 133.82 hectares and has 35 small streets and alleys extending in all directions. The Tibetan word Parkhor literally means "an annular worshipping road", which refers to the main street of the block. The main street, about two kilometers long, functions as the most important road for pilgrimage, local business, and tourism. In its 1400 years' long history, Parkhor Street has witnessed the eclipse and prosperity of Buddhism, the exchange and fusion of the diverse cultures, the flourishing of ancient trade, the continuous changes of the regimes, and the ups and downs of Lhasa.

Because of its unmatched location and cultural signification, Parkhor Street has long been considered as the epitome of Lhasa's historical development. It is the earliest and most prosperous business street in the city, crowded with merchants from all over China and even foreign countries such as Nepal and India, selling craftworks and products with rich ethnical features. Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the Parkhor Street has undergone fundamental changes. Common people moved into the former residence of noble families, handcraft workshops and stores appeared one after another, and shabby street infrastructure was thoroughly renovated. Along with China's Reform and Opening Up, the Parkhor Street in 1980's and 1990's saw a rise of commerce with increasing shops and abundant commodities. Tibetan artworks and craftworks gradually went popular in the market. Thereafter, the opening of Qinghai-Tibet railway transportation in July 2006 boosted the tourism of Tibet to a new level.

Tourists from all over the world flock here, rubbing shoulders with Tibetan pilgrims, which has become a typical scenery of Parkhor Street. In June 2009, Parkhor Street was selected as one of China's Renowned Historical Cultural Streets. Today, there are about 20,000 inhabitants of Tibetan, Han and Hui ethnic groups, 29 historical sites and 54 extant architectures of great historical, scientific and aesthetic value. A total of 1,500 shops and numerous stands are located in this block, as well as restaurants, bars, teahouses, hotels with Tibetan features. Everyday, thousands of tourists come to Parkhor Street for different purposes, such as worshipping, sightseeing, shopping, and picture-taking. The time-honored street will continue to inspire legend and impress tourists from various cultural backgrounds.

From: China Tibet Online/Xinhua


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