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Mogao Caves, Dunhuang

(600+ reviews on the web)
Ruin Religious Site
Examine painted, sculpted, and chiselled Buddhist treasures at Mogao Caves, which represent centuries of cultural exchange between China and other neighboring nations. First used by Buddhist monks as a place for meditation and worship, the cave has attracted many artisans throughout history who gradually turned the holy site into a depository of art. As you approach the cave complex on plank-reinforced roads, notice how stacked, man-made openings reach heights of up to 50 m (164 ft). Inside you can find an abundance of exquisite carved relief murals, clay statues, painted ceilings, and sidewalls, as well as a vast library containing thousands of manuscripts, printed images, and literary artwork. With a daily limit of 6,000 visitors, you have to reserve a ticket in advance. Take a look at our Dunhuang trip generator to schedule your visit to Mogao Caves and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • At first we were put off by how expensive the visit to Mogao caves was (220 RMB each) however after visiting we felt it was worth the money. It's full of history and amazing pairings. The story about ...  more »
  • We paid 800 CNY extra for a private guided tour and it was worth every penny. Lucy Guan of the Dunhuang Academy was our guide. She was worth her weight in gold considering her knowledge of Buddhism an...  more »
  • The sight is really impressive. From background information, the age of the paintings and how good they are preserved. Unfortunately you have to join a guided tour, we were around 8 people, so it was ...  more »
Google
  • We visited in 2002. Of the many wonders of the ancient world I have had the privilege to visit, the Mogao Caves are my favorite. The efforts being taken to preserve these treasures are considerable. Yet every effort was made to allow me to experience the caves in the broadest possible range. I hope to return again someday. For me, one visit is not enough.
  • Highly recommended to see history coming alive. It's amazing to see wall paintings from more than 1000 years ago, some of which the colours are still vivid.
  • Marvelous place. Sure, like many such attractions, it's expensive and crowded, and the written/audio/human guides in English (where they exist) and even in Chinese are spotty. Also, there's no guarantee which caves you will be allowed to see. That said, there's a reason this place is so famous. The manuscripts alone spawned an entire academic area of "Dunhuang Studies" that continues to contribute widely in research. The artworks are stunning, not to mention ancient. It's a once in a lifetime experience to see such a place firsthand. I'd put up with worse ticket prices, crowds, and waits to see it again.
  • Great place to visit. The local taxi drivers are crazy, but careful!
  • Must-see. Such interesting history and art works, the meeting place of the ancient west and east.