Mogao Caves in China, Gansu

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Introduction :
The Mogao Caves are carved into the cliffs above the Dachuan River located 25 km from the center of Dunhuang county in the province of Gansu in China. It comprises of a system of 492 buddhist temple cells and sanctuaries containing some of the finest examples of Buddhist art that goes back to more than 1000 years ago. Due to its religious and cultural influences, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Mogao caves are also known as the Dunhuang caves or the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.

The cliff where the caves were carved on
The cliff where the caves were carved on
Image attribution to marthaenpiet @ Flickr

One of the giant Buddha statues outside the caves
One of the giant Buddha statues outside the caves
Image attribution to kzaral @ Flickr

Entrance to the Mogao Caves
Entrance to the Mogao Caves
Image attribution to kzaral @ Flickr

10th century cave painting of Shakyamuni
10th century cave painting of Shakyamuni

History :
The Mogao caves was constructed since 366 AD with a large number of them built during the Tang dynasty era. The caves were often viewed as a remarkable achievement of Buddhist art during the 4th to 14th century. The cave paintings served as aids to meditation as well as visual representations during the quest to englightenment for hermit monks residing in the caves. The discovery of the Library Cave in 1990 that brought along thousands of relics and manuscripts was regarded as the greatest ever discovery of ancient oriental culture and plays an important part in the history of ancient China and Central Asian.

Inside of one of the caves
Inside of one of the caves
Image attribution to intothegreen @ Flickr

Painting of the Wutai Monasteries in cave 61
Painting of the Wutai Monasteries in cave 61

Shading technique in the cave paintings
Shading technique in the cave paintings

Getting there :
The nearest airport to the Mogao Caves is the Dunhuang airport (DNH) served by flights from major Chinese international Airports at Beijing and xi-an. The Mogao Caves is 25 km away from the center of Dunhuang

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