Gyantse is a small town south west of Lhasa. Gyantse (3950m) in the Nyang Chu valley 254km south-west of Lhasa, is a tipical Tibetan town. It is one of the few places where the mordernazation has not changed much. It is easy to spend a couple of days in Gyantse.
History of Gyantse
If there was a settlement in Gyantse prior to the 14th century, there are no conclusive records of its existence. But between the 14th and 15th centuries the town emerged as the center of a fielfdom with powerful connections with the Sakyapa order. By 1440 Gyantse's most impressive architectural achievements "The Kumbum and the Dzong" had been completed. Gyantse's historical importance declined from the end of the 15th century, though it continued to be a major centre for the trade of wood and wool between India and Tibet. Its position at the cross-roads of trade routes leading south to Bhutan, west to Shigatse and north to Lhasa turned Gyantse into the third largest town in Tibet.
Gyantse is known because of its Fortress, the Dzong Fort, a very special building, the Kimbum Stupa, and a monastery, the Pelkor Chode. The reason why people build a town there is because of the trade in wool. The location was good because Gyantse was on the road to India.
Nowadays Gyantse is close to the Friendship Highway. This is a road that literally makes its name true. It is a road that runs at a height of approximate 3500 m above sea level. But for the rest it does not look like a highway as we know it. It is a sandy road that now and than turns out to be jammed because of erosion.
China tours inclusive of visiting Gyantse