Shigatse also known as Xigaze, is a city located at 12792 feet, and is the 2nd largest city, which has a population of about 650000 in Tibet. In the past, it was the capital of western Tibet. It is located 250km southwest of Lhasa.
The famous monastery in Xigaze is Tashilumpo Monastery, which is very worth visiting. There are a lot of hiking opportunities around the monastery and outside of the city, offering great workout and views. Qingzang Railway will be extended to Shigatse and completed by 2010.
Shigatse is a plateau city with nearly 600 years of history. It used to be the political and cultural centre of Rear Tibet. During the Yuan Dynasty in the mid-13th century, the Shigatse region was under jurisdiction of the Xalhu Wanhuzhang, one of 13 commanders dispatched by the central government, each of whom controlled 10,000 households.
In 1960, Shigatse became a county. In 1986, the State Council authorized it to become a city. When Tibet was peacefully liberated in 1951, there were about 10,000 people in Shigatse. Today, the population has grown into 40,000, as the city's area has increased four times to 22 square kilometres to cover the huge population. There are now enterprises in power generation, machinery, farming machines, pharmaceutical, printing, leather, construction, automobile repairing, food processing and grocery production. Facilities on commerce, tourism, finance, science, hygiene, education, real estate, office and shopping have been established in the second largest city of Tibet. The travel and public service facilities of Shigatse are next to those of Lhasa in Tibet.