Shigatse City was originally called “Nyangqume” or “Nyangme” (meaning the lower reaches of Nyangchu River). Shigatse means “the manor with the best soil” in Tibetan
Shigatse City is a prefecture-level city under the jurisdiction of the Tibet Autonomous Region, covering an area of 179,903 square kilometers. The urban area is of Samzhubze District with altitude of 3840 meters above sea level
Shigatse is the 2nd largest city in Tibet. It is a distribution center and transportation center for agricultural and animal husbandry products in southern Tibet. It is the religious, political, economic, and cultural center of the tradition “Tsang” area of Tibet. It’s been the residence of the Panchen Lama, one of the two leaders of Tibetan Buddhism. It is listed as a national historical and cultural city.
Shigatse City is bordered by Ngari Prefecture in the west, Nagqu City in the north, Lhasa City and Shannan City in the east, and also borders with countries of Nepal, Bhutan, India. Its terrain in north-south is higher, and with the southern Tibet Plateau and the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin in the middle.
Best travel time
From April to October
Plateau mountain climate
Most popular sites
Tashilhunpo Monastery, one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug pa, was founded by one disciple of Tsongkhapa. It is the residence of the Panchen Lama. The Jampa Buddha statue that is enshrined in this monastery is the largest gilt bronze statue in Tibet
Sakya Monastery, is the main temple of the Sakya pa. The art treasures in this monastery are vast and the value of cultural relics is extremely high. The murals that were painted in Yuan Dynasty in Sakya monastery are about over ten thousand of square meters. A large number of Bayeux Sutras containing medical, astronomical, and calendar contents are also preserved in this monastery, with a history of thousands of years. In addition, the Tripitaka that was written in gold powder and cinnabar are preserved the most in Sakya monastery
Gyantse Palcho Monastery, includes three sects of Sakya pa, Kadam pa and Gelug pa in it. There is a famous Kumbum Pagoda, which was built by overlapping nearly a hundred Buddhist halls one after another; Inside of it, there are a total of 100,000 Buddhist statues in the Pagoda,
Yamdrok Lake,is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. It has a water area of more than 700 square kilometers, a water depth of more than 30 meters, and a deepest point of 60 meters. It is formed by ice and snow dissolved water. It is the largest freshwater lake in Tibet. On the peninsula in the south of the lake, there is an ancient Samding Monastery, which the abbot is the only reincarnated female living Buddha in Tibet.
Shalu monastery, was built in the Song Dynasty. It is located about 20 kilometers southeast of Shigatse with altitude of 4000 meters above sea level. It is the only monastery in Tibet that retains the Han-Tibetan structure of Yuan Dynasty. It is popular for its long history and rich and exquisite murals.
Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is 334 kilometers from Shigatse City and 780 kilometers from Lhasa City. The mountain looks like a giant pyramid with various types of glaciers and ice tower forests.
Shigatse City governs 1 municipal district and 17 counties.
How to get to there
As to be the 2nd largest city in Tibet, the transportation to this city is very convenience, you can choose to use flight, train or bus to arrive in this beautiful and dynamic city
Shigatse Peace Airport
IATA Code: RKZ
Altitude: 3,780 meters
Phone: +86 892 8848651
Shigatse Bus Station
Add: No. 15 Qing Dao Rd
Phone: +86 0892 8826245
Altitude: 3,780 meters
Shigatse Railway Station
Add: Zhan Du village
Phone: +86 892 12306
Altitude: 3,780 meters
Geography and climate
Shigatse City is 800 kilometers long from east to west, 220 kilometers wide from north to south, covering an area of 182,000 square kilometers, with a borderline of 1,753 kilometers, and an average elevation of more than 4,000 meters.
Shigatse is located between the middle section of the Himalayas and the middle section of the Gangdise-Nyainqentanglha Mountains. It is basically composed of mountains, wide valleys and lake basins.
In Shigatse, there are 5 peaks above 8,000 meters, and 14 peaks above 7,000 meters.
There are roughly 3 types of regional climates in Shigatse
–Plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate in the areas north of the Himalayas and south of the Gangdise-Nyainqentanglha Mountains;
–Semi-arid and arid climate in the plateau sub-frigid zone monsoon in a few areas north of Gangdise-Nyainqentanglha Mountain;
–Plateau temperate monsoon semi-humid climate in the area south of the main ridge of the Himalayas
The general climatic of Shigatse is thin air, low air pressure, and low oxygen content; strong solar radiation, long sunshine duration, with an annual average of 3300 hours, strong ultraviolet rays on the plateau; low temperature, small annual difference, and large daily difference.
The annual average temperature is 0℃ in the western sub-frigid zone and 6.5℃ in the eastern temperate zone. The average temperature in the coldest month is 2-12℃, and the average temperature in the warmest month is 10-18℃.
The dry season and the rainy season are distinct. From October to April of the following year, it is dry and windy, low temperature and less rain and snow, and the precipitation is less than 10% of the annual precipitation, which is the dry (dry) season or wind season.
From May to September, the climate is mild and the air is humid. The precipitation accounts for more than 90% of the annual precipitation. The precipitation is concentrated in July to August, which is the rainy season. At this time, there are many night rains, thunderstorms and hail, and night rainfall accounts for more than 70-80% of the total precipitation. The spatial distribution of precipitation is uneven, with more in the east, between 200-430 mm, and less in the northwest, less than 200 mm.
The frost-free period in Shigatse is more than 120 days, the intensity of snowfall in the territory is small, and the snow area is concentrated in the southern area of Yadong Pali-Nyalam-Tingri;
Yadong, Zhangmu, Gyirong, and Chentang on the southern slope of the Himalayas are warm all year round, with abundant annual rainfall of about 1,000 mm, and the warmest daily average temperature is of 18-22°C.
Population and ethnicity
As of the end of 2019, Shigatse has a total population of 870,700, of which the Tibetan population accounts for 95.50%. In addition, there are more than a dozen ethnic groups such as Han, Hui, Mongolian, Tu, Manchu, Miao, and Zhuang.
Tibetan New Year Festival, Tibetan New Year is a traditional festival of the Tibetan people and the most solemn festival. Local people of Shigatse celebrates both the “Farmer Year” in 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, and also the Tibetan calendar year on the 1st month of a year
Linka Festival, Linka is a national habit formed by the Tibetan people based on the plateau climate, environment and living conditions. In the past, during the first half of the 5th month of a year, Tibetan people gather around in their courtyard, grassland…, puting up tents and trading their goods, singing and dance to enjoy their time
Dharma Festival, it means archery & horse racing in Tibetan. It was first popular in Gyantse County, then spread out and almost every corner on Tibet plateau, local tibetan enjoy this festival very much; the activities include horse racing, wrestling, however, mainly engage in religious ritual, such as Thangkar unfolding, god dance, …etc
Wang Guo Festival, a traditional folk custom popular in the Tibet Autonomous Region, is one of the national intangible cultural heritage. “Wang” refers to crops. The Tibetan language is called “Wangka” or “Xingka”. “Guo” means turning in circles, that is, turning around the field that the crops grows about to be harvested. This is a folk custom for Tibetan farmers to celebrate the harvest. It was first popular in the basin of Yarlung Tsangbo River.
Bull-fighting Festival, it usually happens in Bainang County of Shigatse City. At that time, farmers and herdsmen from all villages will gather together, bring their own bulls into the designated bullring, and then engage in bullfighting competitions in each township and village. During the game, the two bulls are inextricably fought, and the scene is thrilling. In the end, the weak can be overwhelmed or fled, and the fierce battle between the two bulls can be ended.
At the beginning of the 7th century, Songtsen Gambo of the Yalong tribe officially established the Tubo Dynasty which divided the central Tibet plateau under its jurisdiction into two major parts: “U and Tsang” according to their geographical and natural distribution. The east and west “Tibet” areas of Yishigatse are “Ye Ru” (in the area of Nyangchu River) and “Ru la” (the upper reaches of Yarlung Tsangbo). The “Tsang” area is centered in Shigatse, it is bounded by Mount Gangbala in the east and Mount Gangdisi in the west (part of the current Ali). Because the “Tsang” area is located in the upper reaches of the Yarlung Tsangbo River, the theory of “post-Tibet” OR “Rear-Tibet” came into being.
In the 8th century, the Tibet King Trisong Detsen of Tubo Dynasty invited Indian monk Padmasambhava to come to Tibet to build the Samye Monastery. When he passed through Shigatse, where he practiced and preached, and predicted that the center of the snow-covered plateau was in Lhasa, followed by Shigatse,
In the 11th century, during the Sakya Dynasty, Shigatse had already begun to take the shape of a “town”.
At the beginning of the 14th century, Pazhou regime was established, and 13 large Zong were established. The last Zong was called Samzhubze which means to get one’s wish, and the site was chosen in Shigatse, named Xikasangzhuzi.
In the 20th year of Emperor Shun of Yuan Dynasty (AD 1360), It begun to build the government offices in Zongshan, which was called Samzhubze Zongbao. Since then, the full name of Shigatse is Xika-Samzhubze, referred to as Shigatse. The city of Shigatse began to be built.
In 1951, Shigatse Working Committee was established.
In 1956, Shigatse preparatory committee was established
In 1959, Shigatse Prefecture was established.
In 1970, Shigatse area was changed to the Shigatse Prefecture, and the area was stationed in Shigatse County
In 2014, Shigatse Prefecture and Shigatse County were abolished and the prefecture-level Shigatse City was established; Samzhubze District was established as the urban area of Shigatse City, the administrative area of Shigatse County was the administrative area of Samzhubze District. This is the second prefecture-level city established in the Tibet Autonomous Region