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Dunhuang Travels

 2013-11-25    Jennies    Sights    Dunhuang    4729  

Dunhuang is a Chinese national historic and cultural city in Gansu province. “Dun” means grand, and “Huang” means prosperous. This city locates on the important commercial road linking ancient China and Mid Asia, Europe that's called the Silk Road. It used to have very blooming commercial activities and is well known by the Dunhuang Grottoes and Dunhuang Frescoes. It is where the world legacy, Mogao Grottoes stands.

This small city in the northwest has been through some very glorious time in Chinese history and was left with many splendid cultural relics such as the Mogao Grottoes, Yulin Cave and West Thousand Buddha Cave. The Mogao Grottoes have a title as the pearl of oriental culture; they are the biggest existing cave group in China and preserved 492 caves, 45000 square meters murals, over 2000 color sculptures. The materials of the murals are mostly from stories of Buddhism while some of them also reflect the local custom, hunting, farming, wedding and funeral, festivals and so on. The painting technology of these murals is quite sophisticated and discreet and is judged as 'The Aurora of Human History' and the treasury of world Buddhism art. This city has marched a long five thousand years' history, there were many up and downs but it still remains its glow with its many relics, books, delicate grotto art.

The Silk Road came into being in BC.121, from that time, Chinese silk and advanced technology had been transported to Mid and West Asia even Europe. And in return, jade, crops, rare animals of these areas had also come to China. Messengers, soldiers, businessmen and monks came and went through the Silk Road and they had to stop at Dunhuang, therefore this city had become the key linking the transportation between China and western world. In the following hundreds of years though the Silk Road had been cut down for a few times, it still managed to grow up and get stronger and gradually evolved into the military and politic center as culture and business base in northwest China.

Dunhuang is the portal and path of Buddhism to go to China. Quite a few senior monks lectured students in Dunhuang. In 366 Monk Lezun started to cut caves to consecrate Buddha along Daquan river valley, from then on the Mogao Grottoes came to its birth and this cutting actions has remained thousands and hundreds years thus created the famous Dunhuang art.

When you travel to Dunhuang, besides appreciating the incomparable art, the local festivals are also a huge attraction. On June 1st, the tourism bureau, culture bureau will hold a festival of sliding on sand on Mingsha Mountain. Hundreds of players slide on board from the mountain so the entire mountain disperses huge sound that goes to five kilometers far. Another festival worth mentioning is the Silk Road festival in September every year, there will be organized a tour of Dunhuang that starts from Lanzhou and all the way to west, passing by Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, through Jiayu Fort and finally arrive in Dunhuang. The summer of Dunhuang is a grand entertainment show of singing and dancing for tourists held by Dunhuang Hotel with much more character of the Silk Road, it reflects the minorities of northwest such as Hui, Zang's own singing and dancing art and materials come from the Mogao Grottoes. This event takes place from June till October every year. 

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