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Tibet's second-largest city, Shigatse, is the traditional capital of Tsang and home to the Tashilhunpo Monastery, Tibet's largest functioning monastic institution. The Tsang kings once ruled over the region from the fortress north of town. Most people spend only a day in Shigatse, visiting the monastery and wandering up and down the city's Walking Street, a tourist-friendly section of Qingdao Lu.
The city is divided up into a traditional Tibetan quarter and brand-new Chinese town. Shigatse is quite pleasant, but you haven't traveled all the way to Tibet to see another unremarkable city.
Because it's there," mountaineer George Mallory quipped in 1922 when asked why he wanted to climb the tallest mountain on the planet. The fabled...