Samye Monastery in Shannan

Monk chanting and praying in Samye Monastery, Tibet, January 2011 (Photo: Erik Törner, IMs bildarkiv)

Monk chanting and praying in Samye Monastery, Tibet, January 2011 (Photo: Erik Törner, IMs bildarkiv) by Erik Törner. Sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Samye Monastery was constructed between 775 and 779 AD, making it the oldest monastery in Tibet. It was built by King Trisong Detsen. He wanted to revive the Buddhist religion of Tibet after Buddhism had been introduced during the 7th century. Samye Monastery can be found in Dranang county of Shannan prefecture.

The original buildings have long since gone, after civil wars of the 11th century, fires in the 17th and 19th centuries, and an earthquake in the 20th century all took there toll. The Cultural Revolution also had a big impact and as late as the 1980's, pigs and other farm animals grazed among the sacred buildings. Today the Samye Monastery has been rebuilt and repaired and is again an active monastery, an important pilgrimage and a tourist destination.

Map showing location of Samye Monastery in Shannan

Above: Location of Samye Monastery in Shannan in Shannan, Tibet, China