Lhasa on Sunday completed renovation of its old city, a bustling cultural and commercial center, in the capital city of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
The 1.5-billion-yuan (243 million U.S. dollars) project involved upgrading the sewage system, water supplies and electric lines, elimination of safety hazards, installment of heating facilities and preservation of old-styled buildings, said Che Zala, secretary of the Lhasa municipal committee of the Communist Party of China, at a ceremony.
"The project has enhanced protection of Tibetan cultures, improved the old city's infrastructures and lifted the living conditions there," said Che Zala.
Covering an area of 1.33 square km, the old urban areas of Lhasa centers around Barkhor Street, known for its bustling businesses and cultural sites, and the Jokhang Temple, one of the major monasteries in Tibet and a World Cultural Heritage site.
To solve complaints over the poor infrastructure and to protect the historical buildings in the area, the city government launched renovation plans in December 2012, after winning support from 96 percent of residents.
Phurbu Tashi, a 30-year-old local, said before the revamp, the roads in the old city were often packed with peddlers in the day while too dark for passers-by at night due to a lack of street lamps.
"I'm glad that they installed the Tibetan-style lamps and solved many other problems like tap water supply and the sewage system," he said. "Life here is much safer and cozier."