Western Thousand Buddha Caves

Entrance Fee CNY 30;
Free for children under 1.4m (4.6 feet).
Opening Hours May – Oct.: 8:30 – 17:30
Nov. – Apr.: 9:00 – 17:00
Ticket hours stops 30mins earlier.

The Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, located in Dunhuang, Gansu Province of China, are renowned for their rich cultural and artistic heritage. This expansive site encompasses not only the famous Mogao Caves but also the Yulin Cave and the Western Thousand-Buddha Cave.

Situated to the west of the Mogao Caves, the Western Thousand-Buddha Cave is nestled into a cliff along the Dang River, approximately 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) from Dunhuang City. Characterized by its striking frescoes and artistic style, which closely resemble those found in the Mogao Caves, the Western Thousand-Buddha Cave is considered an integral part of Dunhuang Buddhist art.

While the exact origins of the Western Thousand-Buddha Cave remain uncertain, there is speculation that it may predate the Mogao Caves. This site comprises 16 caverns adorned with over 800 square meters (about 8,611 square feet) of murals and 34 painted clay statues. Some of these caverns were created during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), while others date back to the Wei Dynasty (386 – 534).

Despite the passage of time and natural erosion, the Western Thousand-Buddha Cave remains a captivating testament to the artistic prowess and religious devotion of its creators. While some caverns have unfortunately collapsed over the centuries, ten of them are open to tourists, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to explore this ancient marvel and witness firsthand the enduring legacy of Dunhuang’s Buddhist heritage.

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