The Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas, is one of the Four Greatest Caves in China, together with Yungang Grottoes in Datong in Shanxi Province, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang in Henan, and Maiji Mount Grottoes in Tianshui in Gansu. Mogao Caves has been deemed one of the most valuable cultural discovery of the 20th century and was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 1987.
First built during the early early Qin Dynasty, Mogao Caves was reconstructed during the later Sui, Tang, and Yuan dynasty, and thus, the large-scale grotto gallery was created. Now, Mogao Caves is home to 492 caves, an acre (45,000 square meters) of murals and 2,415 painted statues. At its peak, it hosts 18 monasteries, over 1,400 monks and nuns, and countless artists, translators and calligraphers.
Mogao Caves is a perfect combination of Chinese architecture, statues and murals, which is well known to the world for its colorful murals. Located 25 km (15.5 miles) from downtown Dunhuang, it was carved on the eastern slope of Echoing Sand Mountain. This great cave gallery stretches 1,600-plus meters from north to south and is stacked into five stories. It is regarded as the largest and richest Buddhist cave art in China.
Location: 25 kilometers from southeast of Dunhuang
Admission Fee: 160RMB (May-October); 80RMB (November-April)
Open Time: 8:00-17:30 (May-October); 9:00-17:00 (November-April)
Recommended Visiting Time: 3-5 hours
How to get there: Traveler could take the bus No.12 opposite to Dunhuang Hotel to get there