Xigazê or Shigatse (both: shēgäˈtsĕ) [key], town, S central Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is in the center of a small, heavily populated alluvial plain near the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra) River. The second (after Lhasa) most important trade center in Tibet, it is on the ancient caravan route (now a modern highway) from Lhasa to Nepal, W Tibet, Kashmir, and Xinjiang (China). Xigazê was the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama (see Tibetan Buddhism), who ruled about 4,000 monks in the lamasery of Tashi Lumpo (founded 1446), west of the town. Xigazê also has a large 17th-century fort. Other spellings of the name are Zhigatse, Zhikatse, and Jih-k'a-tse.
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