Tourist Map (12.6KB); China Destinations (main page)
Dunhuang is the oasis-city of 20,000 residents located in the Gobi desert in the north-west of China (Gansu Province). It would be just another town, if it was not the vital stop of the ancient Silk Road. Dunhuang was first mentioned in Chinese texts during the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Today, the city is a popular stop for both domestic and international tourists tracing the ancient Silk Road secrets. It is particularly known for nearby Mogao Grottoes, also called Qianfodong (Caves of Thousands of Buddha Images) situated 25 kilometers to the southeast of Dunhuang. The caves were opened on the cliffs of the eastern ridge of Mingsha Hill, extending to a length of 1,600 meters. The existing 492 caves boast more than 45,000 square meters of frescoes, 2,415 colored statues, more than 400 flying Asparas and documents dating from the 4th to the 12th century AD. These may be the best-preserved examples of Buddhist frescoes in China. After having been sealed for nearly 800 years, the artifacts were discovered in the early 20th century by a Daoist (Taoist) monk named Wang Yuanlu. In 1987 a Sino-Japanese joint production of a commercial feature film entitled The Silk Road resulted in the construction of a complete replica of a Song dynasty (960-1279) town just outside of Dunhuang. It quickly became a local attraction among many others suchg as the Dunhuang's spectacular sand dunes located just few kilometers from the city, Shazhou ancient city, Great Wall of Han Dynasty, Yangguan ancient city and Yumen Pass.
Dunhuang main connection to the rest of the country is the highway. It also has air connection with Lanzhou, Xian and Urumqi cities.