Standing proudly on the western bank of the Wang Chhu a few kilometers north of central Thimphu, Tashichho Dzong looks every inch the seat of government. While the National Assembly no longer convenes inside the fortress's whitewashed walls, today the dzong still houses the throne room and the king's offices as well as the ministries of home affairs and finance. The dzong is a patchwork of old and new, with the impressive central utse and chapels dating from the eighteenth century surrounded by government offices constructed in the 1960s. Various other parts of the dzong have risen, phoenix-like, from the embers of three major fires and the earthquake of 1897, making it all the more impressive that its expansion and restoration has been completed without either written plans or nails. The impressive open courtyard that abuts the northern side of the dzong is the site of Thimphu's largest festival, the annual Thimphu Tsechu. Unless your visit coincides with the tsechu, however, you should be able to explore the dzong's splendid interior in peace, broken only by the sound of pigeons flapping overhead.