An oasis on the Silk Road
The city of Dunhuang, in north-west China, is situated at a point of vital strategic and logistical importance, on a crossroads of two major trade routes within the Silk Road network. Lying in an oasis at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, Dunhuang was one of the first trading cities encountered by merchants arriving in China from the west. It was also an ancient site of Buddhist religious activity, and was a popular destination for pilgrims, as well as acting as a garrison town protecting the region.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Dunhuang.
The Mogao Grottoes are considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. At its peak during the Tang dynasty (618–907), the site housed 18 monasteries, more than 1400 monks and nuns, and countless artists, translators and calligraphers.
The Singing Sands Dune
The Singing Sands Dune, 6km south of Dunhuang, is where the desert meets the oasis in most spectacular fashion. From the sheer scale of the dunes, it’s easy to see how Dūnhuáng became known as the 'Town of Sand'. At the base of the vast dunes is the Crescent Moon Lake, and the panoramic views from the top is breathtaking.