Barkhor

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Any trip to Lhasa will warrant a few visits to Barkhor (Bākuò Jiē, 八廓街; "Barkhor Street")—the religious heart and market center of the capital surrounding Jokhang Temple. The plaza itself was created and paved not too long ago by the Chinese, but its been an important site for Tibetans for far longer, with the circuit around the temple going back to the 7th century.

In recent decades, the square has been a popular place for protests and demonstrations (though these are becoming rare and small due to strict surveillance), so while it may seem that the old bazaar has been paved over, a kind of stage for tradition to play on has emerged.

Take a ride with the circumambulating pilgrims—their clockwise-moving, chanting mass is sure to sweep you up, or shop to your enlightened heart's content at a variety of traditional handicraft-selling stalls. There are plenty of permanent and temporary cultural delights in this square.

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