Shigatse connects with three countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim in the south, Ngari in the west, Nagqu in the north and Lhasa and Shannan in the east. It occupies an area of 176,000 square kilometers, and is situated between latitutes 82'E and 92'20''E and longitudes 27'23''N and 31'49''N. It is 800 kilometers from east to west and 220 kilometers from north to south, with a border of 1,354 kilometers.
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Under the jurisdiction of the Shigatse Administrative Office are the city of Shigatse and 17 other counties, including Zham port, the largest State trade port in Tibet. Within the district are 218 townships (including 12 towns), 1,752 villagers committees and 28 urban residents committees.
Of the population of 609,228 (1997), 91.1% were listed as farmers and herdsmen. Tibetans form 97% of the population, and the other 3% are composed of Han Chinese and 15 other ethnic groups, such as Hui, Monggol, Tu, Manchu, Miao and Zhuang. There were 1,875 Xia'erba people. The population in Shigatse forms one-fourth of the population in the Tibet Autonomous Region, with a density of 3.3 people per square kilometer. Most people live in the Yarlung Zangbo River area; the western pastoral area is sparsely inhabited.
Shigatse is located mostly between the Himalayas and the Kangdese-Nyainqentanglha mountain ranges. The southern and northern terrains are high, while the South Tibet Plateau and the Yarlung Zangbo River constitute the low-lying middle area. High mountains, wide valleys, lakes and basins give this land a varied topography. The average elevation is more than 4,000 meters.
The Himalayas, which stretch across southern Shigatse, are the youngest and highest mountain range in the world, with an average elevation of more than 6,000 meters. Five peaks exceed 8,000 meters high, namely Mount Qomolangma (8,848.13 meters), Mount Lhoze (8,516 meters), Mount Kab (8,463 meters), Mount Qowowuyag (8,201 meters) and Mount Xixabangma (8,012 meters). Mount Qomolangma, located on the border between Shigatse and Nepel, is the world's highest peak, giving it the title of "the Roof of the World". Fourteen other peaks stand more than 7,000 meters above sea level. Some of the more well known include Karru La, Gyaco La, Ma La, Zom La, Lhagyi and Mari La. All of these mountains possess spectacular natural views ideal for sightseeing, exploring and conducting scientific investigations.
The upper southern Tibetan basin along the Yarlung Zangbo and Nyang Qu rivers is the largest grain production area in Shigatse. It consists of two parts: the densely populated Larze-Rinbung valley and Gyangze-Shigatse plain. Other plains include the Penqoi River valley at the northern foot of the Himalayas and some sparsely scattered small river valleys. These plains sprawl on gentle slopes and are blessed with thick soil, temperate climate and plentiful water. Because the natural conditions are suitable for growing crops, this is also the major farming area of Shigatse.
In Shigatse, summer is usually mild and wet, bringing most of the annual rainfall. Winter is cold, dry and windy. Three different regional climates exist in Shigatse. The area north of the Himalayas and south of the Kangdese-Nyianqentanglha has a warm, semi-dry monsoon highland climate; a small area north of the Kangdese-Nyianqentanglha ranges has a sub-cold, dry or semi-dry monsoon highland climate; and south of the Himalayas is warm, with a semi-humid monsoon highland climate. (Photo source: baidu.com)
(CRIENGLISH.com / tibettour.com.cn)