Since 1961, Thimphu has been the capital city of Bhutan. Situated in the western central part of the country, it is surrounded by the Dzongkhag valley. The city contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan including the National Assembly and the official residence of the King. Although a new city, Thimphu contains a number of sites of historical significance and importance. The most prominent landmark is the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion). It is used both as a religious centre for lamas and as an administrative building – it now houses the Central Secretariat and offices of the Home Affairs and Finance ministries.
Thimphu’s other fortress monastery, Simtokha Dzong, was established in 1629 and is said to be the oldest surviving dzong of its kind. The Changangkha Lhakhang temple was constructed in the 15th century and offers stunning views over the entire valley. For similar unobstructed views, a visit to the 51.5m tall bronze statue of the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha, is a must.
The National Memorial Chorten provides the perfect opportunity for people-watching as the locals go about their evening prayers whilst the Zangthoper Lhakhang, a newer temple, has a number of impressive murals to observe.
The city also contains a number of parks and museums dedicated to exquisite Bhutanese textiles and artefacts showcasing rural life in Bhutan.