The Barkor is a popular devotional circumambulation for pilgrims and locals. The walk was about one kilometre long and encircled the entire Jokhang, the former seat of the State Oracle in Lhasa called the Muru Nyingba Monastery, and a number of nobles' houses including Tromzikhang and Jamkhang. There were four large incense burners (sangkangs) in the four cardinal directions, with incense burning constantly, to please the gods protecting the Jokhang. The Tromzikhang market is busy in Barkhor, and the area is a major tourist attraction.
Because the Jokhang Temple has been a symbolic center of Tibetan protest since 1987, the Barkhor has also seen many demonstrations. In 1989, when year the 14th Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, pro-Dalai Lama residents threw tsampa around the Barkhor to celebrate. After the Central government denounced the prize, residents who continued such demonstrations were arrested. The square was briefly closed by riot police during the 2008 Lhasa violence.
- Dowman, Keith (1998). The Power-Places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide, pp. 40-41. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London and New York. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0.
- Harris, Ian (2001). Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-Century Asia. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 236–237.
- Philip, Bruno (19 March 2008). "Trashing the Beijing road". The Economist. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
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