Located one kilometer to the west of Xiahe County, Labrang Monastery was first built in 1709 during Emperor Kangxi's reign period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was once the political, religious and cultural center of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces. In Tibetan architectural, it is one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Lamaism. Covering a total area of 87 hectares, it has six colleges, 16 halls, and 18 mansions for Living Buddhas, two sermon altars and a large living quarter with more than 10,000 rooms.
Wensi College is the center of the monastery. It is a structure that combines features of Tibetan architecture and features of ancient Chinese palaces, embellished with golden iron tiles, cupreous goats, Buddhist wheels, ritual flags, and with a treasure bottles atop. Many figures of Buddha with fine embroidery are hung between the various pillars. Sitting statues of Tang Emperor Taizong, Songtsan Gambo and Ji Muyang, the founder of the monastery, are enshrined in its Dajing Hall. In addition, there is an exhibition room showcasing various relics and treasures.
In its Sutra Pavilion, rows of bookshelves rising from the ground to the ceiling are filled with sutras with silk covers, totaling more than 65,000. Furthermore, the pavilion also keeps more than 7,000 woodcuts.