The Potala Palace sits on the Red Mountain above the capital Lhasa and is the landmark of the city. The red part of the palace (Potrang Marpo) originated in the 7th century, the White Palace (Potrange Karpo) in the 17th century during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama.
The 13 floors of the compound accommodate over 999 rooms, which have been completed for over 50 years. The oldest and most sacred rooms of the Potala are the Lokeshvara chapel on the upper floor and the meditation cave of the Dharma King immediately below.
The Potala Palace served in the past as an administrative center, government seat, monastery, fortress, and residence of several Dalai Lamas. Today, the Potala Palace is a museum, but it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Tibetan Buddhists, beside the Jokhang Temple. Since 1994 it is on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.