Tibet's Potala Palace embraces modern toilets

2017-06-02 17:19:17 | From:Global Times

Four brand-new washrooms have recently replaced old squat toilets in the Potala Palace, a World Heritage site in Lhasa, Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, according to news portal chinanews.com.

The new white and scarlet toilets, which stand in a traditional wooden structure, mimic the external color scheme of the Potala Palace and visitors to the bathrooms are greeted by the smell of Tibetan incense.

"The whole construction idea was to restore them to what they were in the past and to be environmental-friendly. Designed by experts who specialize in conserving ancient buildings, the new toilets meet five-star hotel standards," said Li Liang, an official with the Potala Palace's management department.

The original squat toilets, located at the two ends of the palace, were built 300 years ago half way up the mountain which the palace sits upon. Waste deposited in them would drop more than 10 meters, and they had the reputation of being the toilets with the biggest vertical drop in the world.

But they were unsanitary, Li said.

The renovation of the two bathrooms is part of a region-wide toilet overhaul launched by the Tibetan authorities early this year that aims at protecting the environment and the health of locals and boosting tourism by improving 2,000 toilets in the region. The free toilets will be mainly built in scenic spots and along the region's highways, chinanews.com reported.

Data issued by palace management showed that around 1 million tourists visited the Potala Palace in 2016.

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