Drepung Monastery

Lhasa, Tibet

Drepung, located five miles west of Lhasa, was founded in the early 15th century by a disciple of the Yellow Hat order. It was Tibet's richest monastery in the 17th century, with over ten thousand monks; even today, there are about a thousand monks in residence. The wiew in this photo illustrates the fortress-like construction of these monasteries, evidence of their projection of secular as well as religious power in the premodern era.