Lhasa, Potala Palace from North-Northeast


This view of Potala (the palace of the Dalai Lama), seen from the north-northeast, is from a collection of 50 photographs of central Tibet acquired in 1904 from the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in Saint Petersburg by the American Geographical Society. A note provided by the photographer, Ovshe (O.M.) Norzunov, states: “On the roof of Phodang Marpo [the Red Palace] are seen four shrines with (gilded) roofs in Chinese fashion. Half-way up the hill is a low, round, tower-like building, where those coming on horseback to the palace the western way up, dismount and leave their horses and mules. The entrance to the palace from that side is facing the east, in the tower which one sees on the right-hand corner (from the spectator) of the palace.” In “New light on Lhasa, the forbidden city” (1903), J. Deniker writes: “The whole collection of buildings contains nearly three thousand rooms and is larger than the Vatican, according to Agwang Dordje, who visited the papal residence on his last stay in Europe.” The photographs in this collection were taken by two Mongolian Buddhist lamas, G.Ts. Tsybikov and O.M. Norzunov, who visited Tibet in 1900 and 1901. Accompanying the photos is a set of notes written in Russian for the Imperial Russian Geographical Society by Tsybikov, Norzunov, and other Mongolians familiar with central Tibet. Alexander Grigoriev, corresponding member of the American Geographical Society, translated the notes from Russian into English in April 1904.

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Title in Original Language

Lhasa, Potala Palace from NNE

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph ; 5.5 x 8.5 inches


  1. S.C. Das, Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (London: John Murray, 1902).
  2. J. Deniker,“New light on Lhasa, the forbidden city,” The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, vol. 66 (1903).

Last updated: March 22, 2016