It was a forbidden place and thus, irresistible. And so they came, Westerners intent on exploring Tibet and its elusive capital Lhasa. Few survived the trials of fire, ice and violence that awaited on Tibet's natural ramparts.

Disguised as a Buddhist pilgrim, Nain Singh, a spy whose feats of espionage still rank among the greatest in the world, emerged from Tibet with an astonishingly accurate survey of the mysterious land.

Forty years later, using the very same maps that Nain Singh created, it was Francis Younghusband, a British colonialist, who finally managed to penetrate the hidden city of Lhasa and bring to an end the country's years of isolation.

While the first video posted below deals with the main history of how Tibet and modern society first met, the second exposes many of the questions hidden behind its infamous walls. The third takes a deeper look at the monastic traditions of the monks living there in an wonderfully narrated travel documentary.

"It's better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep." -Tibetan Proverb