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Mogao Caves - Art of Dunhuang Caves
Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
 More Mogao Caves Pictures
The traveler finds the Mogao Caves, a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, 25 km (15.5miles) from downtown Dunhuang on the eastern slope of Mingsha Shan (Mount Echoing Sand). A network of plank reinforced roads plying north to south 1600 meters (5, 249 feet) long lead to the cave openings, which are stacked five stories high some reaching up to 50 meters (164 feet). By the way, Mogao means high up in the desert.

According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk had witnessed onsite a vision of thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started the caves construction work that spanned ten dynasties. Mogao Caves are commonly known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas.

Buddhist art has its origins in India. Mogao sculptors improvised where the rock surface did not work well under their chisels. They placed clay statues in front of the cave walls, carved relief murals as backdrops, and painted the sidewalls and ceilings with art decors. The largest statue is 34.5 meters (113 feet) high and the smallest a mere 2 centimeters (0.79inches) high.

The traveler will note traces of Indian Buddhist art in the earlier works. More recent works depict all walks of life and activities in a local setting. You will relive the daily routines and special events as captured by the artists while you are exploring the 750 caves. There are also ups and downs in the artistic quality over the centuries, depending on the fortunes of Buddhism with available art patronage. Artists in each dynasty painted with their distinctive palette. The visitor can tell the works in the Tang Dynasty from those in the Song Dynasty.
Dunhuang Maogao Caves
Colorful Mural, Maogao Caves
Buddha Statues in Magao Caves
Buddha Statues in Magao Caves
People believe it possible to fill 25 kilometers (15.5miles) of gallery space with the works of art from Mogao. There are 50,000 manuscripts written in many languages apart from artifacts. The Mogao Caves are a depository of historical and cultural exchanges over more than a thousand years between China and other nations.

1.The Digital Exhibition Center has been formally open to the public since August 1, 2014. Shuttle bus service is available between the caves and the digital exhibition center. Visitors can enjoy two amazing movies A thousand Years of Mogao Caves and Splendors of Buddha’s Palace at the digital exhibition center and then take the shuttle bus to visit the caves. Tourists can call the scenic area at (+86) 0937-8825000 / 8825166 / 8825066 (7:00-00:00) for further consultation.
2. Within the caves, no photo! An electronic torch maybe necessary to see inside the caves.
For detailed information on Dynasties, please refer to History of China
Admission Fee: CNY 160 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); CNY180 (including English guide) 
CNY 80 (Nov.1 to Mar. 31); CNY 100 (including English Guide)
CNY 60 for Digital Exhibition Center

All visitors are required to book their visit and buy entrance tickets online in advance because the ticket office has been closed since September 11, 2014. In addition, the total number of visitors per day is limited to 6000.
Opening Hours: 08:20 - 18:00 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
09:20 - 17:30 (Nov.1 to Mar. 31)
Recommended Time for a Visit: 3-5 hours