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Tibet General Info

Geography:
Tibet is an autonomous region of China situated on the Tibetan plateau on the northern side of the Himalayas and its geography consists of high mountains, rivers and lakes. Tibet is often called the roof of the world as it stands over 3 miles above the sea level and Himalaya and many of the highest peaks in the world.

Geographically Tibet consist three different regions:
The Northern Plateau or Chang Tang
This region covers almost half of the Tibets total surface area and is the largest natural region in Tibet and is surrounded by great range Karakoram in the west, Nan Shah range in the north east and by the walls of Astin Tagh in the north. The climatic condition of this region is very harsh so it is inhabited sparsely.

The Outer Plateau
This is the second largest region and is the main area of human settlements. It shares Himalayas in the southern boundary. The climate of this region is milder so offers the varieties of flora and fauna.

The Southeastern Plateau
This is very small region of the Tibet, which covers only 1/10th of Tibets total area. It has a mild climate and sufficient rain therefore is almost covered by Forest.


History:
Before 1951, Tibet had a theocratic government of which the Dalai Lama was the supreme religious and temporal head. After that the newly installed Chinese administrators relied on military control and a gradual establishment of civilian regional autonomy. Tibet was formally designated an autonomous region in 1965, as part of the separation of religion and civil administration. It is now divided into the prefecture-level municipality of Lhasa, directly under the jurisdiction of the regional government, and six prefectures, which are subdivided into districts, counties, and county-level municipalities.
The army consists of regular Chinese troops under a Chinese military commander, who is stationed at Lhasa. There are military cantonments in major towns along the borders with India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Local people have also been recruited into some militia regiments.


Culture:
The Tibetan culture is highly influenced by Buddhism. The Buddhism was introduced in Tibet since 7th century. The culture of the Tibet is also influenced by its neighboring countries including Nepal, China and India. Due to the variance in geographical and climatic condition Tibet has developed a unique and distinct culture. The culture of Tibet is reflected through arts, architecture, dresses, archery, traditional ceremonies and the everyday life of Tibetan people. The Tibetan culture also includes music drama and dance also known as the Ocean of songs and dances, Tibetan singing and dancing is widely spread throughout the region and it is the integral part of Tibetans daily life. Art, literature and music of Tibet is connected with the belief of Buddhism. Due to specific geographic and climatic condition of Tibet, it is dependent on livestock farming and has developed different cuisine from surrounding regions which fits the needs of the human body in these high altitudes.


People:
There are mainly three groups if people in Tibet Plateau including Tibetan Nomads, Tibetan Peasants and Urban Residents.
Tibetan Nomads: are expert at making full use of all the available materials for existence. They always wear Tibetan leather robes and lead a nomadic life in the northern Tibet. Male nomads spin yak wool, yak hair and braid ropes and slingshots while women weave wool into fabric for tents, blankets, bags and clothing. Tibetan living in north have a wider choice in food compared to that of South as domestic sheep, yak and antelope provides them with plenty protein and fat.
Tibetan Peasants: also known as Tibetan farmers make a more stable life but have lots of concern. Barley, turnip and potatoes are only produced in these areas so raising cattle has been the subsidiary business of Tibetan Peasants. Due to the harsh environment the farmers have difficulty in raising cattle as their food is limited to straw only. So the limited milk, ghee and cheese become precious to Tibetan Peasants. The farmers in the Tibet often wear dark brown or grey robe made of Pulu (woolen fabric).
Urban Residents: includes businessmen, government officials and handicraftsmen. The urban residents of Tibet usually pay more attention to their dressing. Male usually wear cotton or silk shirt in their robes. The women dont involve in any work and spent their time worshipping Gods. During the Tibetan Festival females in the urban area would dress in brocade clothes and rainbow aprons.


Art:
The Tibetan art are influenced by its neighboring countries and are highly religious. The artwork created before the mid-20th century shows the depiction of religious subjects, with the main forms being thangka, distemper paintings on cloth, Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings, small statues in bronze or large ones in clay, stucco or wood. From the extremely beautiful statures found in monasteries to wooden carvings and the complicated and detailed designs of the Thangka paintings, Tibetan art can be found in almost every object and every aspect of daily life. The Tibetan arts are influenced by: Mahanaya Buddhist Influence, Tantric Influence and Bon Influence.


Communication In Tibet:
Numbers of hotels facilitate the visitor with IDD call and fax services as well as photocopy services in Lhasa. Tibet also provides the service of cell phones connection in Lhasa and other cities besides some remote mountainous regions. Postal services are also available in major cities like Lhasa, tsetang, Gyantse and Shigatse but are relatively slow. All the newspapers in Tibet are printed in Tibetan or Chinese language so it would be difficult for traveler to depend on the newspaper. It is also possible to send and receive emails in Lhasa, shigatse, Tsetang, Ali and Chamdo either in private bars or in the business centers of China Telecom office. Most place charge around Y5 for an hours Internet access.

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