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A city in Gansu Province, Western China, Dunhuang is known for its unique landscape (it is much drier than other areas in China) and its role in Silk Road culture. Sometimes called ‘Sha Zhou’, or ‘beautiful desert oasis’, Dunhuang has a long history as a trading hub, situated along the Silk Road. Dunhuang is not only a destination for exploring Ancient Chinese culture, but to fully appreciate the varied and unique Chinese landscape.
A Buddhist art shrine, the Mogao Caves are 25km from Dunhuang. ‘Mogao’ means high up in the desert, while the area itself is often translated to ‘Caves of a thousand Buddhas’. Over 2,800 sculptures are hidden here and UNESCO has named the site a World Cultural Heritage Site. Being the largest exhibit of Buddhist art in the world, it’s no surprise that it is the number one attraction in Dunhuang.
Singing Sand Dune
The Singing Sand Dune, or ‘Mingsha Hill’, begins at the Mogao Caves and is a unique, 40km-long natural attraction. Comprised of different colours, the sand dune makes distinct noises whenever the surface of the sand is stepped upon or slid against. Regarded by many as a natural miracle, the sand dune itself is reminiscent of landscape found in the Middle East.