Mogao Caves

Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
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Mogao Caves Facts

Location: 25 km (15.5miles) from downtown Dunhuang on the eastern slope of Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan)
When was the Mogao Caves built: in the year of 366 in Five Hus and Sixteen States (304 - 439)
Number of the caves: 735

Mogao Caves is a shrine of Buddhist art treasures. A network of plank reinforced roads plying north to south 1,600 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 (618 - 907) records, a monk lived in Five Hus and Sixteen States 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 735 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 (960 - 1279).

 For detailed information on Dynasties, please refer to History of China.

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.
Dunhuang Maogao Caves
Colorful Mural, Maogao Caves
Buddha Statues in Magao Caves
Buddha Statues in Magao Caves


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.
2. Within Mogao Caves, no photo! An electronic torch maybe necessary to see inside Mogao Caves.

Reservation Procedure

The total number of visitors is limited to 6,000 per day, so it is necessary to reserve a ticket in advance, especially during the peak season (May 1 to October 31). One can reserve a ticket online through the official website of Mogao Caves 30 days in advance. Unfortunately, the English version of the website hasn’t been ready.

From July 20, 2015, individual visitors who reserve the entrance tickets are required to provide their valid ID documents used for reservation to get their tickets. Foreign visitors can use their passports. All visitors should get tickets from the ticket office in downtown (No. 102, Building 15, North District of Yingbing Garden Community, East Yangguan Road; close to Yingbing Grand Hotel) or the ticket office in the Digital Exhibition Center.

Those who don't reserve the entrance tickets in advance can buy tickets at the above two ticket offices.

If visitors have any question, they can call (+86) 400-833-3715(7:00-00:00).

 Notice to visitors in July and August
Every year, supplementary tickets at the price of CNY 100 will be issued for odd-numbered days in July and even-numbered days in August. The limit for supplementary tickets is 12,000 per day. Different from regular tickets, they only allow visitors to visit four caves and the museums. The Digital Exhibition Center is excluded.

How to get to Mogao Caves

1. Take a bus from Dunhuang Railway Station to the caves directly. The bus also passes by Dunhuang Hotel and Silk Road Hotel.
2. Take a taxi to Mogao Caves and it takes about 30mins.
Mogao Caves Tickets
May - Oct.: CNY 200 for Chinese citizens; CNY 220 for foreign visitors (including foreign tour guide service);
Nov. - Apr.: CNY 100 for Chinese citizens; CNY 120 for foreign visitors (including foreign tour guide service)

1. The admission fee includes Mogao Caves, Digital Exhibition Center, shuttle bus service between the Exhibition Center and the caves and tour guide service.
2. Chinese and foreign students presenting a valid student ID card can enjoy 50% discount. If a foreign student wants to enjoy foreign tour guide, he/she has to pay extra CNY 20.
3. Children below 1.4m (4.6ft) can visit for free, but they need to pay CNY 10 for tour guide and CNY 10 for shuttle bus between the caves and the Digital Exhibition Center.
Opening Hours May - Oct.: 08:00 – 18:00
Nov. - Apr.: 09:00 – 17:30
Recommended Time for a Visit 3-5 hours
- Last modified on Oct. 29, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Mogao Caves
Asked by Uli from SPAIN | Oct. 26, 2018 23:40Reply
Do visitors with disabilities have discounted ticket price to visit Mogao grottoes?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fachnan from IRELAND | Oct. 29, 2018 00:44

I'm not sure whether it is free for foreigners and you'd better consult the staff in the scenic area, holding your passports.
Asked by Wilma Post from NETHERLANDS | Jun. 24, 2018 09:56Reply
Can I book a tour to Mogao caves with you, because we cannot book the tickets online
because we don’t speak chinese. It is for 2 persons on august 12th.
Answers (1)
Answered by Gloria from GERMANY | Jun. 25, 2018 23:08

Hi, you can send your information to this e-mail:
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