Located 25km (16 miles) outside Dunhuang, the Mogao Caves are the best example of Buddhist cave art to be found in China. There are almost 500 caves, decorated with 45,000 sq meters of frescoes and over 2,000 painted statues carved into the east side of Mingsha Hill. In 1900, a cave containing 50,000 religious and historical manuscripts was found at Dunhuang. It is believed that the texts were hidden by Buddhist monks during the 11th century. The texts included rare and ancient works in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese and other languages. Over the next 2 decades most of the library was stolen or purchased by
adventurers and archaeologists and the "unhuang Books" have been scattered worldwide.In 1987 the Mogao Caves were listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Mingsha Sand dunes & Crescent Moon Lake
Dunhuang has a spectacular natural scene: Mingsha (Sighing) Sand Dune. The dune, a sand crusted hill of dozens of meters high, is 40km east to west, and 20km south to north.
In fine days, sand roars like thunder which can be heard in the city, hence the name. when visitors climb up to the dunes and slide downward from the summit, the sand can collapse with them and give out a pearl of loud sound.At the foot of Mingshashan lies the 200m/656ft long Lake of the Crescent Moon (Yueyaquan), which gets its name from its crescent-like shape. The formation of the lake resulted from a geological peculiarity - the
north and south slopes are higher than the east and west - and from the wind which blows from west to east. The wind initially blows in a southeasterly direction, is then forced upwards where it rotates spirally before finally retreating in an easterly direction. As a result, the lake has never once become silted up with sand in 1000 years.
White Horse Pagoda
The White Horse Pagoda was built in Dunhuang in 386A.D. Taking the advantage of its geographic location it became a major stop on Silk Road.
The White Horse Pagoda has nine-storage, with a height of 12 meters and a width of 7 meters. Believers repaired the structure in every dynasty, therefore the White Horse Pagoda keeps its original beauty and always take the lead among the tourist attractions in Dunhuang as is regarded as "scenery within the scenery".