The city of Shigatse is the second largest city of Tibet, covering a land area of 8.92 square kilometers .At an elevation of 3836 metres, the city is 273 kilometres away from Lhasa. With well-laid-out roads and unique architecture, it is the birthplace of the Banchen II, the Banchen III, the Banchen IV and the Dalai II. The city is located in the south of Tibet and the north of the Himalayas. The major terrain is plains, with six mountains with an altitude of more than 5,500 meters. The lowest elevation is 3,800 meters, while the highest is 6,646 meters. It is wet and warm in summer, while dry and cold in winter. There are 3,248 hours of sunshine, 118 days of frost-free period and 120mm precipitation annually.
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Backing against Nima Mountain, Shigatse, is situated at the converging place of the Yarlung Zangbo River and the Nianchu River. South of the city lies the Tashilhunpo (Zhaxi Lhunpo) Lamasery, one of the four lamaseries of the Galu sect of Lamaism and the residence of the Panchan Lama for long. Southeast of the city is situated the Xialu Lamasery, a cross between Han and Tibetan architecture, built during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties. In 1447, Gendain Zhuba who was later known as the 1st Dalai Lama, began to build the Tashilhunpo Monastery at Shigatse.in the 52nd year of Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi's reign, the Emperor granted the title of "Panchen Erdeni" to the Panchen Lama who had administration authority over Rear Tibet. The Tashilhunpo Monastery became Panchen Lama's administration office. In the early 20th century, when the 9th Panchen broke rapport with the 13th Dalai Lama and left Tibet for central china, the local Tibetan Kashak Cabinet members set up an administration office in Shigatse, which commanded six departments. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the "17 Agreements" ensured the status and power of Panchen Erdeni. The 10th Panchen was then able to return to the Tashilhunpo Monastery. In 1960, Shigatse became a county. In 1986, the State Council authorized it to become a city.
Shigatse is the major agricultural producer as well as one of the bases of commodity grain in Tibet. Its economy relies on agriculture and animal husbandry.
The most famous places of historical interests here are the Tashilhunpo, Xalhu and Natang monasteries. Tashilhunpo monastery was the seat of Panchen Lama, who was equally important as Dalai Lama. Stupa of the 10th Panchen Lama who died in 1989 was kept here.