Heavy snow forces Lhasa’s Potala Palace to shut doors

Beijing: Potala Palace in the Tibet capital on Wednesday announced temporary closure to the public following heavy snowfall.

A snowstorm, which lasted 24 hours from Tuesday until Wednesday morning, left a 10 centimetre layer of snow on the ground in Lhasa making it hazardous for visitors, Xinhua news agency reported.

The steep stairs leading to the hilltop palace were buried under the snow. The staff was mobilised to clear it.

The palace is usually open every day except during annual maintenance work carried out each winter.

Potala Palace was included in the Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1994, describing it as “an outstanding work of human imagination and creativity for its design, its decoration and its harmonious setting within a dramatic landscape”.

Built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in 7th century at a height of 3,700 metres, the palace was expanded in the 17th century.

In 2017, the palace received 1.45 million tourists.