Capital (pop., 2003 est.: 129,490), Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Located at an elevation of 11,975 ft (3,650 m) in the Tibetan Himalayas near the Lhasa River, it has served as the religious centre of Tibet since at least the 9th century AD. Lhasa became Tibet's capital in 1642 and remained so after the Chinese communists asserted control of the region in 1951; it was designated capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965. The 7th-century temple of Gtsug-lag-khang is considered the holiest in Tibet. Other landmarks include the temple of Klu-khang; the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama's former winter residence; and monasteries. Lhasa is sometimes known as the Forbidden City because of its inaccessibility and the traditional hostility of its religious leaders toward outsiders.