Shigatse(Xigatse), means 'the fertile land'. Covering an area of over 3875 square kilometers (about 1496 square miles), this frontier city is the second largest in Tibet. It sits in the plain at the confluence of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu Rivers, where Tibet's most fertile land is to be found. With some thirteen ethnic groups including Tibetan, Hui and Man, Shigatse is a typical living area for minority nationalities. The population of Shigatse City is 98,700 about 97% of which are Tibetan.
Shigatse has a history going back more than 600 years and it is this ancient holy city that is the traditional seat of Panchen Lama, one of the spiritual leaders in Tibet. The city is also the cultural, economic and political center of Tibet.
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Strategically located at the alluvial plain at the confluence of YalongTsangpo and Nyangchu Rivers, Shigatse was once the political, religious and cultural center of 'Rear Tibet'. As time went on, the town lags far behind Lhasa in terms of economy and population.
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