The land of Tibet is a 2-mile-high plateau, bordered by the highest mountains on earth and watered by deep river valleys. The Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Brahmaputra, and Irrawaddy rivers all originate here. Its difficult environment - high, cold, and dry - has nurtured a unique material and religious culture. Formerly difficult of access, the capital city of Lhasa is now easy to get to via its modern airport, or the new (2006) Qinghai-Tibet train from Beijing.
The airport highway runs beside the Lhasa river (next page).