Mogao Caves World Heritage Site

Caves in Dunhuang City, Gansu, China

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Mogao Caves
Native name
Dunhuang Mogao Ku 2013.12.31 12-30-18.jpg
LocationDunhuang, Gansu, China
Coordinates40°02′14″N 94°48′15″E / 40.03722°N 94.80417°E / 40.03722; 94.80417Coordinates: 40°02′14″N 94°48′15″E / 40.03722°N 94.80417°E / 40.03722; 94.80417
Criteriai, ii, iii, iv, v, vi
Designated1987 (11th session)
Reference no.440
Mogao Caves is located in Gansu
Mogao Caves
Location of Mogao Caves in Gansu
Mogao Caves
Mogao ku (Chinese characters).svg
"Mogao Caves" in Chinese characters

The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, form a system of 500 temples[1] 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves; however, this term is also used as a collective term to include other Buddhist cave sites in and around the Dunhuang area, such as the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years.[2] The first caves were dug out in AD 366 as places of Buddhist meditation and worship.[2][3] The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.

An important cache of documents was discovered in 1900 in the so-called "Library Cave", which had been walled-up in the 11th century. The contents of the library were subsequently dispersed around the world, and the largest collections are now found in Beijing, London, Paris and Berlin, and the International Dunhuang Project exists to coordinate and collect scholarly work on the Dunhuang manuscripts and other material. The caves themselves are now a popular tourist destination, with a number open for visiting.[4]

  1. ^ Murray, Stuart A. P. (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. Chicago: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-61608-453-0.
  2. ^ a b "Mogao Caves". UNESCO. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  3. ^ Zhang Wenbin
  4. ^ Makinen, Julie (September 27, 2014) "Getty Institute helps save China's Mogao Grottoes from tourism's impact" Los Angeles Times

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