Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes are considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. At the height of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the site was home to his 18 monasteries, more than 1,400 monks and nuns, and countless artists, translators, and calligraphers.

English-language tours, running at 9am, noon and 2.30pm, are included in the ¥258 ‘A’ ticket admission price, which gives you access to eight caves; the alternative ¥100 ‘B’ ticket is for Chinese-language tours, with access to four caves.

Due to a significant increase in visitor numbers (including school tours), access procedures have been revised, requiring all visitors to the Mogao Grottoes to pass through a visitor center several kilometers from central Dunhuang.258 The Yen ‘A’ ticket includes transportation to the caves, access to 4 museums, and admission to 2 30-minute movies. Inside the cave, which is not normally open to visitors, at his IMAX theater in the visitor center. From the visitor center, ‘A’ and ‘B’ ticket purchasers are taken by special coach to the cave, 15 km away. The 100 yen B ticket is only for those with a good understanding of the Chinese commentary (includes transportation to Mogao Grottoes and access to 3 museums). After the tour, you are free to roam the site and return to the visitor center by bus of your choice, but none of the caves are accessible. The ¥50 “C” ticket only includes access to the movies inside the Visitor Center Cinema.

“A” tickets are limited to 6000 per day. B tickets are limited to 12,000 per day. Buying a ticket is not easy. “A” tickets can be pre-purchased online at the cave’s official website (Chinese website only; at the time of writing, a Chinese phone number and Chinese ID card are required for purchase) or in Dunhuang (or , ) An inconveniently located reservation and ticket center in Mogao Grottoes, a separate reservation office in the eastern part of the city, with English-speaking staff. During peak season, tickets must be purchased at the Mogao Grottoes Reservation Ticket Center one day in advance.

Of the 492 caves, 20 “open” caves rotate fairly regularly. Entry is strictly controlled and no one is allowed to enter. The ‘A’ ticket allows access to 8 caves, including the famous Hidden Library Cave (Cave 17), 2 Big Buddha statues in Cave 96, including the 35.5m tall giant Buddha (the iconic 7 Buddha statues behind) A tour of about 2 hours is offered. -story Pagoda) and another Buddha statue in Cave 148, a giant 26-meter-tall reclining Buddha, as well as precious manuscript fragments written in classical Uyghur and Manichean languages . The cheaper ‘B’ ticket gives you access to half of the cave and is useful if you have limited time (but remember that the ‘B’ ticket tour is in Chinese only).

Photography is prohibited inside the cave. Sites remain closed in case of rain, snow, or sandstorms.


Wealthy merchants and important officials were the main donors responsible for the creation of the new caves. I thanked him. The traditional date attributed to the creation of the first cave is AD 366. The cave was unused for about 500 years after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty and was largely forgotten until it was ‘rediscovered’ by a series of foreign explorers in the early 20th century.

Northern Wei, Western Wei & Northern Zhou Caves

These are the earliest of the Mogao Grottoes and are distinctly Indian in style and iconography. All stupas have a central pillar representing the stupa (symbolically containing the Buddha’s ashes), which devotees surround during prayer. The colors come from the valuable minerals malachite (green), cinnabar (red) and lapis lazuli (blue) imported from Central Asia.

The art of this period is characterized by attempts to express the spirituality of those who have transcended the material world through asceticism. Wei statues are graceful figures with slender, elaborate features and relatively large heads. Kita Zhou’s character has ghostly white eyes.

Sui cave

The Sui dynasty (AD 581–618) was short-lived and largely a transitional period between the Sui and Tang dynasties. This can be seen in the Sui caves of Mogao.
The graceful Indian curves of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues are beginning to give way to the more austere styles of Chinese sculpture.

The Sui Dynasty began when a general of Chinese or mixed descent seized the throne of the Northern Zhou Dynasty, uniting northern and southern China for the first time in 360 years.

Tang cave

The Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907) was the height of the Mogao Dynasty. The techniques of painting and sculpture were highly sophisticated, and some important aesthetic developments took place, notably the sex change of Guanyin (from male to female) and the flying Apsara. Beautiful murals depicting the Western paradise of Buddhism offer a glimpse into court life, music, clothing and architecture in China’s Tang Dynasty.

About 230 caves were carved during the religiously diverse Tang Dynasty. Among them are his two impressive caves with giant seated Buddha statues. The statue of Maitreya in Cave 96 (believed to represent Emperor Wu Ze, who used Buddhism to consolidate his power) was originally weather-beaten and stands at 35.5 m high, his third tallest in the world. A tall Buddha statue. The Buddha statue is carved from top to bottom with scaffolding, and its anchor holes are still visible.

Post Tan Cave

After the Tang Dynasty, the economy around Dunhuang declined, and the magnificence and vitality typical of Tang painting was gradually replaced by simpler drawing techniques and flatter figures.983-1227 The mysterious Western Xia Kingdom, which ruled over much of Gansu until 1920, began introducing Tibetan influences, making many additions to the Mogao Grottoes.

Departure and Arrival

The Mogao Grottoes are 25 kilometers (30 minutes) southeast of Dunhuang, but tours start and end at the visitor center about 5 kilometers from Mingshan Road near the train station. A green minibus (¥3 one-way) runs every 30 minutes from the front of the Silk Road Yiyuan Hotel (Liyuan Hotel) to the visitor center. Taxis cost ¥20 each way and are easy to find on your way back as they are waiting outside the visitor center right next to the green minibus.

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