Chengguan District Overview

Chengguan District (also Lhasa Urban District) is the main urban area or the city proper of Lhasa, with a total area of 525 square kilometres and a population of 211,400. More than 30 nationalities live in this district, including Tibetan, Han and Hui nationalities. 87% of its population are Tibetans. Chengguan means "city pass district" in Tibetan, referring to the city's location nestled between two mountain ridges.

Basic Information

● Chinese Name: 城关区

● Population: 279074(2013)

● Area: 523 square kilometers

● Zip code: 850000

● Dialing code: (+86) 0891

● Average Altitude: 3,656 meters


Chengguan District is located on the middle reaches of the Lhasa River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, with land that rises to the north and south of the river. It is 28 kilometres (17 mi) from east to west and 31 kilometres (19 mi) from north to south. Chengguan District is bordered by Doilungdêqên District to the west, Dagzê County to the east and Lhünzhub County to the north. Gonggar County of Lhoka (Shannan) Prefecture lies to the south. Outside of the urban area much of Chengguan District is mainly mountainous with a near nonexistent rural population.


Due to its very high elevation, Lhasa has a warm-summer humid continental climate that very closely borders a cool semi-arid climate and a subtropical highland climate, with very dry, frosty winters and wet, warm summers, yet the valley location protects the city from intense cold or heat and strong winds. The average annual temperature of 8 °C (46 °F). Annual precipitation is about 500 millimetres (20 in), mostly falling between July and September. 


As the proper of Lhasa, this district is also the political, economic and cultural center of Lhasa, even Tibet. The city already has modern industries such as electricity, food processing, construction material, printing, art and handicrafts, etc. The world famous tourist sites like Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Ramoche Monastery, Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Nechung Monastery are all in this district. 

Music and Dance

There are some night spots that feature cabaret acts in which performers sing in Chinese, Tibetan, English, and Nepali, and dancers wear traditional Tibetan costume with long flowing cloth extending from their arms. There are a number of small bars that feature live music, although they typically have limited drink menus and cater mostly to foreign tourists.


By the mid 7th century, Songtsen Gampo became the leader of the Tibetan Empire that had risen to power in the Brahmaputra River (locally known as the Yarlung Tsangpo River) Valley. In the 13th century, the central government of the Yuan dynasty incorporated the Chengguan district of Lhasa into the unified territory, and the central government of the Yuan and Ming dynasties supported the Sagas and Pamuzhuba Houses in Chengguan district and other places, making the political center of Tibet transfer to the Sagas area of Shigatse and Shannan at one time. In May 1951, the Chinese people's liberation army took over Lhasa of Tibet peacefully. Lhasa was formally established in 1960. On April 23, 1961, Chengguan district of Lhasa was established.

Ethnic Groups

In 2000 the urbanised area covered 53 square kilometres (20 sq mi), with a population of around 170,000. Official statistics of the metropolitan area report that 70 percent are Tibetan, 34.3 are Han, and the remaining 2.7 Hui, though outside observers suspect that non-Tibetans account for some 50–70 percent. Among the Han immigrants, Lhasa is known as ‘Little Sichuan'.