Mogao Caves

The Mogao Caves (莫高窟), also has other names, including the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. In 1987, the site was inscribed upon the UNESCO World Heritage List. Mogao Caves consists of 750 caves, over 490 of them with mural paintings such as paradise, and angels, on five levels hewn into an escarpment in the desert.
The construction of the Mogao Caves begun in the fourth century AD. A monk named Lè Zūn lived in the Sixteen Kingdoms (AD 304 - 439) had witnessed onsite a vision of thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays. It inspired him to build a cave here. The rulers of Northern Wei and Northern Zhou constructed many caves here, and it flourished in the short-lived Sui Dynasty. By the Tang Dynasty, the number of caves had reached over a thousand.
The art of Mogao Caves covers a lot of genres, such as architecture, sculpture and mural. The murals in the caves date from a period of over a thousand years, from the 5th to the 14th century, and many earlier ones were repainted at later points within the period. Early murals showed a strong Indian and Central Asian influence in the painting techniques used.
Opening Hour
Monday to Sunday (including public holidays)
May to October: 08:00 to 18:00
November to April: 09:00 to 17:30

Address: The eastern slope of Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan), Dunhuang, Gansu, China

Tel: +86 4008 333 715


Take a bus from Dunhuang Railway Station to the caves directly
Take a taxi
Photography is not allowed within Mogao Caves
The total number of visitors is limited to 6000 per day