Shigatse, also named Xigatse, means ‘the fertile land’. Covering an area of over 3875 square kilometers (about 1496 square miles), this frontier city is the second largest in Tibet. It sits in the plain at the confluence of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu Rivers, where Tibet’s most fertile land is to be found. With some thirteen ethnic groups including Tibetan, Hui and Man, it is a typical living area for minority nationalities. The population of Shigatse City is 98,700 about 97% of which are Tibetan. The city has a history going back more than 600 years and it is this ancient holy city that is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, one of the spiritual leaders in Tibet. The city is also the cultural, economic and political center of Tibet.