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Home China Travel   China Travel Guide   Gansu Province   Mogao Grottoes

China Travel Guide: Attractions in Gansu Province
Mogao Grottoes (Dunhuang Caves)


Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, Gansu Province

Mogao Grottoes is commonly known as the "Thousand-Buddha Caves" or Mogao Caves. It is situated on the cliff of Mingsha (Singing Sand) mountain, some 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang City, Gansu Province. Stretching 1,600 meters from south to north. Mogao Grottoes is a Buddhist treasure house with paintings and murals from 1,600 years ago.

The carving work began in 366 AD. Amidst of natural erosion and human destruction, 492 caves have survived. Within those caves, Buddhist murals cover a total wall space of some 45,000 square meters and the number of existing painted clay sculptures is 2,415. There are also five surviving timber structures whose history dates back to the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) Dynasties. A gigantic, elegant palace of art, the whole grotto complex is regarded as the world's largest and best-preserved treasure house of Buddhist scriptures, murals, and architectural designs. In 1987, UNESCO entered Mogao Grottoes in its List of World Heritage.

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Famed Silk Road grottoes in China get fewer visitors amid financial crisis

The global financial crisis has slashed the number of tourists to Dunhuang, a Silk Road city and home to historic Buddhist grottoes, city tourism bureau chief Gong Ying said on Monday.

Gong said domestic tourist arrivals were likely to decline 30 percent this year, with those of foreigners down 40 percent.

Dunhuang, in northwest China's Gansu Province, had 1.4 million tourists last year, including 100,000 from overseas.

Gong said major natural disasters, such as prolonged snow early in the year and the devastating earthquake in May, had also affected tourism.

"We are not optimistic about the market next year, as the financial crisis is worsening," he said.

The Mogao Grottoes, a UN-listed World Heritage site known as the Cave of a Thousand Buddhas, received fewer than 100 tourists daily, compared with an average of 1,500 per day last year, the official added.

 Gong said the bureau will tap the Taiwan market next year, to take advantage of cross-Strait direct air and sea services that began earlier this month amid warming ties.

 A 261 million yuan (about 38 million U.S. dollars) rehabilitation project began on Monday to protect the fragile ancient paintings and sculptures. (Xinhua, Dec. 29, 2008)

Ancient Mogao Grottoes to be lightened
Tourists to world-famous Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, in northwestern China's Gansu Province, might see ancient paintings and statues on interior walls more clearly as the management plans to introduce modern lights into the caves.

The Dunhuang Academy have begun an experiment by installing lights in some caves including No. 16 and No. 148 to see if the ancient paintings and other cultural relics would suffer damages from lights.

Before the experiment, tourists could only see the paintings with flashlights operated by tour guides.

If the results of the experiment proved to be positive, modern illumination will be installed next year in all the caves that were open to tourists, sources with the academy said.

The 1,600-year-old Mogao Grottoes, which became a World Heritage designation in 1987, have more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of frescoes.

The number of domestic and overseas tourists to the Dunhuang grottoes is estimated at 500,000 annually and continues to rise.

Early this year, China has approved a 36 million U.S. dollar protection scheme for the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, including construction of a digital display hall that can hold 800 visitors and facilities for consolidation, erosion prevention, security and visitor services. (Xinhua News Agency October 4, 2008)

Visitors to Mogao Grottoes Face Limits
Aug. 22, 2007 - The daily number of tourists permitted to visit the Mogao Grottoes will be limited next year in a bid to better protect the frescoes inside, according to the Dunhuang Academy. (Click title of the news for full report.)

Hearing Held for Dunhuang Grottoes Price Hike
A hearing has been held Saturday concerning a new price hike on ticket prices to Mogao Grottoes, the most famous scenic spot in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province, Lanzhou Morning Post reports.The current price of a ticket to Mogao Grottoes is 100 yuan (US$12.5 US dollars). After the price hike, it will rise to 150 yuan (US$18.8). While a ticket will cost 20% more from Octobter 1 to 7 each year, the peak season for local tourism, it will cost 40 percent less during the low season which spans from November 1 to March 31.(Click for full details)

Infrastructure Improved to Boost Silk Road Travel

CRI English, May 25, 2006 - Dunhuang city in west China's Gansu Province is boosting its tourism industry by recreating an image of how it was during both the Han (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) and Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), which were peak times in the city's history. Dunhuang is investing several hundred million yuan to improve the city's tourism infrastructure and constructing several new sights to make the city more attractive and entice tourists to stay longer. The construction plan includes refilling the Dan river and building a Han and Tang style commercial street.The city of Dunhuang was an important station along the famed Silk Road and has several great tourist attractions, including the Yang Pass, the Yumen Pass, the Singing Sand Dunes, the Crescent Spring and the Mogao Grotto. The number of visitors to the city exceeded one million people in 2005.

Mogao Grottoes to Go Online in 2011

Xinhua News Agency Sep. 20, 2006 - Archaeologists as well as ordinary people will be able to visit the world heritage Mogao Grottoes site in northwest China by simply clicking the computer mouse in 2011.China will digitize images of 170 of the finest Dunhuang grottoes over a period of five years starting 2007. One hundred and forty-seven will be from the Mogao Grottoes and the rest from the Yulin Grottoes and Western Thousand Buddhas Caves.(Click for full report)

Wounds of Time to Dunhuang Grottoes Aired
Shanghai Star November 11, 2004 - China Central Television's recent live broadcasts from Dunhuang's grottoes may be the first time Chinese media have focused on these mysterious marvels. The programmes showed more than 10 grottoes that had never before been exposed to public view. (full coverage)

Floods Threaten Silk Road Grottoes
Flooding and rain threaten the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes hidden in northwest China's vast Gobi desert...



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