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The Sacred Library of Dege

Hidden in a deep valley of Sichuan lies one of Tibetan Buddhism’s three holiest sites. The Dege Parkhang, or Sutra Printing House, was first constructed in 1792 and is home to over 70% of the literary heritage of Tibet. Its library contains over 270,000 pieces concerning works from each of the five schools of Buddhism as well as historical documents on medicine, architecture and music. Each book has been carved onto a series of wooden blocks, which are then covered with ink then pressed into a fresh piece of paper. The Dege Parkhang is one of the last in the world to use this form of printing, also known as xylography. Although its library was threatened during the Cultural Revolution, the structure was temporarily converted into a hospital and its treasures protected by monks who acted as doctors. Today, the Printing House is under restoration with hopes to be shortly included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.