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Ta Dzong (National Museum)

The Ta Dzong or the National Museum is a unique cylindrical conch shaped building that was constructed in1649 by the first Governor of Paro, Langonpa Tendzin Drugpa, and the half brother of the Zhabdrung. It was built as a watchtower to protect the Paro Rinpung Dzong from any possible invasions and is hence located right above the fortress.

At the time, the dzong was the center of both the administration of the state as well as the location of the monastic and spiritual life of the valley. The unique structure of the watchtower, or Ta-Dzong, has six floors that spiral down from the top. Its stonewalls are two and half meters thick. When it was functioning as a watchtower, the building not only housed soldiers but also prisoners of war.

In the 1950s, the Bhutanese government renovated the entire structure and provided the necessary infrastructure to house and display the national collections. The Museum was opened to the public in 1968.

Current facilities of the Museum include the main building, the Ta-Dzong, which has six floors of exhibits. The Museum also has secondary exhibition space in a modern building behind and uphill from the main building. On the ground floor there is flexible gallery space for visiting and rotating exhibits.