Mogao Caves (Dunhuang Caves)

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The Mogao Caves (Mògāo Kū, 莫高窟), also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas (Qiān Fó Dòng, 千佛洞), are a group of 492 cave-temples in southeast Dunhuang. These astonishing caves, or grottoes, were dug out of the bedrock and cliffs sometime in the fourth century. The story goes that a Buddhist monk named Lè Zūn had a vision of a thousand Buddhas bathed in golden light, inspiring him to build a cave there.

During the Tang Dynasty there were over 1,000 caves carved into the cliffs in Dunhuang. However, those that remain are in the southern section of the cliff, many having been lost to time.

Regarded as one of the most valuable cultural discoveries in the 20th century, the caves contain some of the most fascinating examples of Buddhist art and artifacts from the last 1,000 years.

Although only eight to ten caves are open to visitors, this place is a real treat and highly recommended. A new museum has been opened next to the grottoes, where visitors can see copies of the murals and enter simulated caves.

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