The great Heroes of Tibet were glorious in death

Tibetexpedition, Gyantse, Festungsmauer


Gyantse Dzong or Gyantse Fortress is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet, perched high above the town of Gyantse on a huge spur of grey brown rock. The fortress, dating back to 1390, guarded the southern approaches to the Tsangpo Valley and Lhasa. The photos shows the Gyantse Dzong and the city walls, from 1939.

Gyantse fort witnessed the heroic resistance of the Tibetans against far superior forces during the British expedition to Tibet of 1903 and 1904.

The Tibetans were defeated after a heavy artillery bombardment blew a hole in the wall followed by a direct hit on the powder magazine

The dead Tibetan defenders were everywhere, and it took a major effort using prisoners to drag all the bodies away.

As someone wrote after the battle: “Our way was strewn with corpses. The warriors from the Kham country, who formed a large part of the Tibetan army, were glorious in death, long-haired giants, lying as they fell with their crude weapons lying beside them, and usually with a peaceful, patient look on their faces.”

The Dzong fortress has been restored; the city is now called the Hero City and the fortress “still dominates the town and the surrounding planes as it always did”.