The City of Ithaca (named for the Greek island of Ithaca) sits on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York State, USA. It is best known for being home to Cornell University — an Ivy League school with almost 20,000 students (most of them studying on Cornell’s Ithaca campus). Ithaca College is also located just south of the city in the Town of Ithaca. The college is strongly linked to the city, further adding to Ithaca’s strong “college town” focus and atmosphere.
The City of Ithaca is the center of the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area (which also contains the separate municipalities of Town of Ithaca, Village of Cayuga Heights, Village of Lansing and other towns and villages in Tompkins County). The city is the county seat of Tompkins County. In 2000, the city's population was 29,287, and the metropolitan area had a population of 100,135. 2004 estimates puts the city population at 29,952, an increase of 2.3%.Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca is the North American seat of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.