Dunhuang (once known as Shazhou) is at the western end of the Hexi Corridor. Dunhuang is home to many spectacular tourist attractions, and is listed as a state historic and cultural city.

Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes, also known as the “Thousand-BuddhaCaves,” are the oldest of China's three monumental Buddhist grottoes. Located 25 kilometres southeast of DunhuangCounty, these caves are carved out of the sandstone cliffs of MingshaMountain. According to a Tang-dynasty historical text,

the monuments were started by a monk named Le Zun and date

back to 366 AD. Over the next 1,000 years, artists continued to

contribute to the site, creating a thousand more statues in about

1,000 caves over the course of thousands of years, most of

which remain on site today. Today, 492 cave remain intact,

featuring a cultural treasure house of 2,000 statues and over

45,000 separate murals.

Crescent Moon Spring

The spring lies at the foot of the Mingsha Sand Dune and is

named for its shape. It is about 100 metres long and 25 metres

wide, and has fish and water weeds with legendary healing

properties. Though the area is often hit by windstorms that

impede visibility, nobody in hundreds of years of civilization

has ever seen the spring covered by sand.

Mingsha Sand Dune

The Mingsha (Sighing) Sand Dune is another piece of

spectacular scenery in Dunhuang. The dune, a high hill covered

in multi-coloured sand, 40 kilometres long and 20 kilometres

wide. On some days the sand roars like thunder, and is audible

from the city, hence the name. China travellers climbing up to

the dunes and sliding down from the summit can cause the sand

to collapse with them producing loud sounds. Nobody knows

exactly how this wonder of nature was formed. Legends claim

that a dragon prince, angry at being awakened by celebrating

people, covered a whole city in sand. This story claims that the

sounds of the dune are from the souls of the dead, trapped

beneath the sand.