The Mogao Caves are a cultural and religious highlight of China tours
Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, China tours take travelers to some of most historic landmarks around. From the Forbidden City to the Great Wall, many of the country's most famous destinations date back hundreds of years, but few of them are quite as old as the Mogao Caves.
The site is located a short distance from the eastern Chinese city of Dunhuang, and has become a place of both religious and cultural significance. The caves were originally dug around the year 366 and were used for Buddhist meditation and worship. Today, they are recognized as one of the best examples of Buddhist artwork in the world, featuring everything from sculptures and paintings to breathtaking architecture and calligraphy.
There are countless murals decorating the cave walls, some of which date as far back as the 5th century. The sheer amount of the artwork is astonishing, with the murals covering an estimated 490,000 square feet. The detail in the work is impressive as well, and many pieces depict important battles from Chinese history. The caves also house around 2,400 clay sculptures that have survived thousands of years.
Paintings are not the only reason the Mogao Caves are one of the most interesting sites in China. In 1900, archaeologists discovered tens of thousands of manuscripts and other documents in the so-called Library Cave, which had been sealed since the 11th century.
Today, many of the caves are open to the public, and the artwork housed within them will certainly add a unique element to your tour of China.