Dunhuang, “the city of the tousand Buddhas”
Updated: 2011-06-23 16:24
By Daniele87 (chinatraveldepot.com)
The city, located in the Gansu province in northwest China, is accessible thanks to the Dunhuang city Airport located 9 miles east of the city centre. It is possible to fly there from Beijing Lanzhou, Urumqi and Xian, flights available on China Flights.
Duhuang was firstly established by emperor Wudi during the Han Dynasty in 111BC at one of the cross of two main roads of the ancient Silk Road. The name Dunhuang from Chinese “to flourish and prosper” helps to understand that the city origins are rooted in ancient China. The city being one of the main stops of the Silk Road was the place where products from Far East where introduced to Europe and middle Asia. Furthermore among the area, is still perceptible the Buddhist culture, throughout carved images and traditional architectures, a perfect example of well preserved relics are the Magao caves. Indeed the latter are the main reason to visit the city, Caves are located 20 miles away from the city centre, they are also known as the 1,000 Buddha Caves. Indeed they are filled with spectacular Buddhist manuscripts and art. The construction of the cave was mainly due to a monk, who during his trip on the desert, in the 4th century, had a vision of a thousand Buddhas, explaining the reason why caves have been excavated, filled with treasures and called with the actual name.
Just next to the thousand Buddha caves is situated the “White horse Pagoda” built by a monk from India to thank his horse which helped him to get to China. However sightseers are not allowed to visit the cave on their own, for this reason the site provide a tour guide each 10-15 people for the price of 160 RMB.
For those landscape lovers, visitors cannot miss out the opportunity to visit the Sand Dunes riding a camel reviving the authentic Silk Road experience (for no more than 11 dollars per person). Within this visit, it is possible to experiment the surprising Ringing Sand hill, the hill has the particularity to produce a whistling sound due to friction. Another impressive and unique landscape is offered by the only one of its kind dry coloured flora of the Huyang forest. It is mainly characterized by a small forest constituted by rare poplars (Populus Divesifolia), some of them are more than 600 years old.
Another site to see is the Moon Crescent Lake, located only 6 km south of the Dunhuang city centre, at the Singing Sand Mountains, where the oasis meets the desert. Spring water trickles up into a depression between the high sand dunes creating a small crescent-shaped pond.
In conclusion find the way around may be complicated especially for first visit travellers as most of the attractions are outside the city centre. In this case is always advised to consult China Tours website which will provide you will all the necessary information about the area and an available English-speaker tour guide. For those more expert tourists looking for an accommodation around the Dunhuang city is advised to consult China hotels.
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