February 13, 2013 marked 100 years since His Holiness 13th Dalai Lama proclaimed the restoration of Tibet’s independence following a period of Qing domination. In the last few years, February 13th has been celebrated as Tibetan Independence Day in over 30 cities worldwide.
Each year, on this date, Tibetans and their supporters have celebrated various symbols of Tibetan independence: the Tibetan national flag, the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence, the historical pillar in Lhasa erected to mark a peace treaty between Tibet and China.
This year’s global celebration of this important day is being marked by highlighting the historical importance of the great Potala Palace of Tibet and Tibetan people’s vision for a free and democratic Tibet. Today, China attempts to portray the Potala Palace solely as a tourist attraction.
However, for the Tibetan people, the Potala Palace is much more than an attractive monument; it is a representation of Tibet’s independent past and a symbol of Tibet’s future statehood for Tibetans around the globe.
Below are ten interesting facts about this world heritage site known as the Potala Palace:
1. The Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, was the chief residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It also served as the seat of the Tibetan Government for hundreds of years, until China’s illegal invasion of Tibet in 1949. So in terms of symbolism, it is like the White House and the Capitol Building combined in one majestic edifice.