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Submitted By xiaojea
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In 1948, the city of Lhasa consisted of about 600 buildings. The population, was around 30.000 people. Today, the city is home to at least 330.000 people, and has modern roads, several high-rise buildings (more than 10 stories), many modern facilities, and even a local internet server. While mass tourism provides an economic opportunity, it also threatens the survival of the things that attract tourists in the first place – Tibet’s distinctive culture, and the unspoilt beauty of its high plateaus and mountains
Local Houses
The traditional way of building is a response to Tibet's cold and dry climate, and the earthquake-prone ground. Since from at least the 7th century onwards until recently, the materials used for construction of housing in Lhasa have not changed much. Local stone, wood and earth are the basic materials, different qualities of which were used for different purposes.
One of the most characteristic features of traditional Tibetan architecture is the battered wall. Besides giving Tibetan buildings a distinctive silhouette, the inward-sloping walls also provide extra stability in case of tremors. The sloping is created by the reduction in thickness from the ground floor wall to the top floor wall, with the inside wall remaining vertical.
Stone Towers are built like military fortifications. The perimeters of these buildings are usually built in the shape of a trapezoid for increased strength. They are usually two-story buildings made of stone and wood. The lower floor is where livestock is stabled. The upper floor is comprised of living rooms for the family, storerooms and a shrine room.


The distribution of the architectural styles in Tibet also has some unique characteristics. In some cities and towns like Lhasa, administrative centers and local houses are centered on the temples. Due to Tibetan religious beliefs and considerations of safety and power, temples and palaces are usually situated in the mountains. In some regions like Gyangtse and Shigatse, the administrative centers are placed on the top of the mountain with the temples on the mountainside and the village at the foot of the mountain.

Nowadays, more buildings are being made from concrete and this is basically in accordance with the wishes of many people. Even some families had covered their stone houses with concrete to create a more "modern" look. The use of concrete is increasing, despite the fact that it is an extremely poor insulator. These factors have led to the decline and near-disappearance of the traditional skills, and have also contributed to a drastic change in appearance of the city of Lhasa. In Kangding, the closest thing to Tibetan architecture is the shape of the windows in the modern hotel on the main street.

Costume (Less affect by other costume culture, Tibetan costume remain its original style)
Owing to its high elevation and bad transportation conditions, Tibet has long had few exchanges with the outside world. Its solitude serves to help the birth and maintenance of the exotic Tibetan culture. The style of Tibetan costumes has undergone few changes throughout history. It is mainly decided, and affected, by local climate and their nomad's way of life.

Most Tibetan costumes are made of animal furs. Furs are soft, durable and warm. There are a variety of furs used, sheepskin being the most common. In the past, different furs indicated different meanings. For example, a hero of the war would wear tiger skin garments while a deserter would have to wear fox skin garments. With the elapse of time, these original meanings have been lost. Sometimes, even fox skin garments are in fashion.

Tibetans in the city prefer light colors while in the pastoral area women are fond of bright colors. Citizens match clothes of similar colors together, while country people make their clothes, most usually aprons, with stripes of five different colors: white, blue, green, red and yellow, which represent the cloud, the sky, the rivers, the earth, and one of the gods in their religion.

Tibetans love accessories more than any other ethnic group. Accessories are to them a symbol of assets and social status. Some of these accessories are related to their religion. They design these accessories into the shape of some sacred objects in their religion in the hope that they can always stay in the protection of their Buddha. Some are mainly of practical use. For example, there is a kind of accessory named naigou (milk hook). When Tibetan girls milk the cows, they must use a hook with their buckets. After the milking, they hang the hooks on their clothes, so naigou plays a double role as a tool as well as an accessory.

With the economic development of Tibet and its gradual opening to the outside world, the style of Tibetan costume is undergoing quiet changes. Modern Tibetans have taken a liking to the costumes of the Han people. Some are even fond of western clothes. Ingenious Tibetans mix the style of Han, Tibetan and western clothes and design new clothes that catch people's eyes immediately. They now try to keep pace with the fashion while maintaining its ethnic features.…...

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