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August 24, 2009

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Renovation work ends on Tibet cultural sites

THE renovation of Potala Palace and Norbu Lingka, or the former winter and summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas, was finished yesterday in Tibet Autonomous Region.

The government spent nearly 300 million yuan (US$43.9 million) on the two projects, along with another 94.74 million yuan to renovate Sagya Monastery, which is known for housing numerous classical Buddhism books and precious paintings.

A ceremony was held yesterday in a square in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, to celebrate the successful repair work.

"The renovation of the three key cultural relics is an important part of preserving Tibetan culture," said State Councilor Liu Yandong at yesterday's ceremony.

The Potala Palace was built in the 7th century and is on the United Nations World Cultural Heritage list.

Repairs started in 2002.

Tibet saw a surge in tourism last month. A monthly record of 1.22 million travelers visited the region in July, generating more than 1 billion yuan in tourism revenue, according to the National Tourism Administration.

The number of tourists more than doubled compared to July 2008, when tourism in the region was still recovering from the riot on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa.

In the first seven months, Tibet welcomed 2.7 million tourists, 3.8 times more than in the same period last year and up 58.6 percent from the same period in 2007.


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