The capital of Tibet; population 156,100 (est. 2006). It is situated in the northern Himalayas at an altitude of 3,600 m (c.11,800 ft), on a tributary of the River Brahmaputra.
Its inaccessibility and the unwillingness of the Tibetan Buddhist priests to receive foreign visitors—to whom Lhasa was closed until the 20th century—earned it the title of the Forbidden City. The spiritual centre of Tibetan Buddhism, Lhasa was the seat of the Dalai Lama until 1959, when direct Chinese administration was imposed on the city