Lhasa, the capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, has a history of more than 1,300 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and transport center of the region. Lhasa covers an area of close to 30,000 square km. It has a downtown of 544 square km and a population of 400,000; 140,000 of its people live in the downtown area. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui peoples, as well as many other ethnic groups, but the Tibetan ethnic group makes up 87 percent of the total population.
The Lhasa River originates from Nyangqentanglha Mountain (5,020 meters about sea level) on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It as one of the five major tributaries of the Yarlung Zangbo is 551 km long and its drainage area is nearly 30,000 square km.