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Between the 14th and 15th centuries, Gyantse emerged as the centre of a fiefdom, with powerful connections to the Sakyapa order. By 1440 Gyantse’s most impressive architectural achievements – the kumbum and the dzong – had been completed. The Pelkor Chöde Monastery also dates from this period.

Gyantse’s historical importance declined from the end of the 15th century, although the town continued to be a major centre for the trade of wood and wool between India and Tibet. Gyantse carpets were considered the finest in Tibet. The town’s position at the crossroads of trade routes leading south to Bhutan, west to Shigatse and northeast to Lhasa turned Gyantse into the third-largest town in Tibet by the time of the Chinese takeove, r but it’s since been eclipsed by Chamdo, Bayi, Ali and Tsetang. In 1904 it became the site of a major battle during Younghusband’s advance on Lhasa.