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Potala Palace repairs to complete late 2009


LHASA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- A 330 million yuan (48 million U.S. dollars) preservation
project on the Potala Palace, Norbu Lingka Palace and Sagya Monastery, three of
the most important relics in Tibet, are expected to be completed late this year.


Workers repair the newly-discovered sleeper of Potala Palace on April 14,
2008.(Xinhua File Photo)


It was learnt Thursday at a meeting on protection of cultural relics in Tibet
Autonomous Region, southwest China. No exact time for completion of the repair
projects was specified at the meeting.


 The work, funded by the Chinese central government, began in 2002. The Potala
Palace, built in the seventh century, is listed on the world cultural heritage list.
Norbu Lingka, which means "treasure park" in the Tibetan language, was the
summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Sagya Monastery, about 4,300 meters above
the sea level, houses numerous classical books on Buddhism and precious


Repairs to the ancient buildings and ancient fresco paintings at the three sites has
almost been completed, while the fire control, lighting, and water supply and drainage
systems are expected to be completed in July or August, according to the regional
cultural heritage bureau.


Of the total funds, 240 million yuan is being spent on repairs to the Potala Palace,
said Champa Kelsang, chief of the administration for the Palace.


Workers have nearly finished the reinforcement of sleeper walls-- a cylindrical
structure used to support floor joists in the foundation of the main buildings of
Potala Palace, he said.


The Potala Palace, built on a hill, has an elevation of 3,763 meters. The exact
number of sleeper walls in the Palace is unknown.


 "We have repaired 491 sleeper walls, most of which were eroded," he said,
"Without repairs, these sleeper walls would not support the Palace any more."


 The Potala Palace survived the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that jolted Damxung
County, 82 km from Lhasa, the regional capital, in October last year.


Renovation to the Potala Palace also included 17 ancient buildings, including the
Red Palace and the White Palace. The Red Palace contains the tomb stupas of
generations of Dalai Lamas and various prayer halls. The White Palace comprises
two wings and is the place where the Dalai Lama lives, works and conducts political
and religious activities.


"The funds earmarked by the central government are the fundamental solution to
dealing with problems of mud erosion, stone peeling away, and a large area of
cracks on sleeper walls," Champa Kelsang said.



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