General Information of Dunhuang

Interesting in Dunhuang

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Location: it lies at the western end of the Hexi Corridor in Gansu Province in Northwest China, an oasis on the eastern edge of Taklimakan Desert.

Population: 187,578


Culture of Dunhuang City


Dunhuang Caves--A number of Buddhist cave sites are located in the Dunhuang area, the most important of these is the Mogao Caves which is located 25km southwest of Dunhuang. There are 735 caves in Mogao. Numerous smaller Buddhist cave sites are located in the region, including the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, the Eastern Thousands Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves and the Five Temple site.


Attractions of Dunhuang


Mogao Caves: The traveler finds the Mogao Caves, a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, 25 km (15.5miles) from downtown Dunhuang on the eastern slope of Mingsha Shan (Mount Echoing Sand). By the way, Mogao means high up in the desert. There are 50,000 manuscripts written in many languages apart from artifacts. The Mogao Caves are a depository of historical and cultural exchanges over more than a thousand years between China and other nations.

Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan): The mountain is five kilometers (about three miles) away from the city of Dunhuang. Seen from afar, the mountain is just like a golden dragon winding its way over the horizon. On days when a strong wind blows, the fast shifting sand roars; but when the wind is little more than a light breeze, the sand produces gentle, dulcet sounds akin to music. It is the same when you are sliding down the mountainside.


Crescent Lake: About 6 kilometers (3.73 miles) south of Dunhuang city, and surrounded by the Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Spring can be called a natural wonder in the Gobi Desert. it resembles a crescent fallen down into this desert.

Yangguan Pass of Great Wall: Located in Nanhu Village, along the Hexi Corridor and 43 miles southwest to Dunhuang City in Gansu Province.The Emperor Wu ordered to build it in the purpose of consolidating the frontier defense as well as developing the remote western region. In Chinese, Yang means the south. Together with Yumenguan Pass, it has also witnessed the prosperity of Silk Road in the past times.


Yumenguan Pass of Great Wall: Originally known as Small Square City, the Great Wall Yumenguan Pass, together with Yangguan Pass, is one of the two important passes on the western frontier of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220) lands. It is located 56 miles northwest to Dunhuang City, Gansu Province, at the western end of Hexi Corridor. In ancient times, it was the crucial gateway from central China to the western regions.

Dunhuang Movie Set: Dunhuang Movie Set, also known as Modeled Shazhou Town of Song Dynasty (960-1279), is about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) southwest of Dunhuang City. The town presents its majestic appearance in the vast Gobi bearing a rich flavor of the west regions of China. Fully representing the military importance of the western regions in the Tang (618-907) and Song Dynasties, the complex here can give one an impression that the clock has turned backwards to ancient times.


Dunhuang Museum: The Dunhuang Museum is located in the downtown area of Dunhuang City. The Dunhuang Museum reflects the flourishing social development and cultural exchange between China and the West during the time when Dunhuang was a major center along the Silk Road. A trip to the Dunhuang Museum will provide visitors with a greater understanding of the history and culture of the Chinese people and their ancient civilization.


Nightlife in Dunhuang


Nightlife, with obvious local characteristics is colorful in Dunhuang City. However, there are not many sparkling bars, discos or clubs, etc. the main attractions are the night markets; in China, even the world cannot miss these bustling, vibrant places in Dunhuang City. Let us introduce some shining examples here.

Dunhuang Musicians and Dancers--In ancient times, Dunhuang was a melting pot for both song and dance of western and eastern cultures and developed a school all its own, the Dunhuang Folk Musicians and Dancers.


Summer of Dunhuang--This is a large song and dance performance with rich cultural references to the Silk Road, reflected in the ethnic art of song and dance. The performance, inspired by the content of murals in the Mogao Caves, portrays the dancing, finery and music of ethnic groups along the Silk Road.


Dunhuang Shazhou Night market--It is an ideal place to learn about Dunhuang folk-customs and life. The market, divided into several areas, includes snacks, art ware, Sanpaotai (a kind of drinking vessel with a small plate, a cup and lid. ), Tea House area and a special ethnic products area etc. Tourists can browse at your leisure. There are also local opera street shows performed by amateurs - entertaining and fun.


Dunhuang Food


Located in Western China and bordering Xinjiang Province, Dunhuangs cuisine is influenced much by the nomads, Grilled Mutton being the most popular dish in both restaurants and hotels in this vibrant city. The cultural taste of Dunhuang dining though is far deeper.


Camel Hoof on Silk Road: A dish, also known as Camel Hoof on Jokul, gained its name for the shape that is like camel prints on the Jokul. Cut the hoof into pieces, add flavors braised in bamboo steamer for two or three hours. Finally, use egg white to make the jokul, put them together and make a shape of camel hoof on Jokul.

Stir-fried Hump with Five Shredding: This traditional Dunhuang dish was a favorite of high-ranking imperial concubine Yang Yuhuan of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The primary ingredient is Camel hump, accompanied with five shredding consists of Yulan (dryed bamboo shoot), Dongru (a type of mushroom), leek shoots, ham and chicken breast. It is featured in fat and the soft meat.


Three Treasures of Anxi: Suoyang Wine, Guazhou Melon and Shuangta Fish, is source of Anxi dining culture. Tourists should try them; otherwise your Dunhuang trip will be not complete.

Fry Oil Cake: Stuffed sugar candy, rose-essence, walnut and sesame in an oil flour skin that are rounded, and then fried. The cake tastes fragrant, sweet and crisp.


Yellow Noodles: It is a kind of Lamian (dough stretched to form fine noodles). Yellow Noodles look like golden threads, tastes delicious and have a soft texture. They can be added to soups, or mixed with cooked vegetable dishes, and being savoury, makes a good appetitive.


Shopping in Dunhuang


Handcrafts of carpet, painted sculpture, craft works of camels, luminous cup, calligraphy and painting and Dunhuang wax printing, etc are the most famous. Luminous Cup, known as a Yangguan Jade Cup, is a rare drinking vessel that glows in the dark, hence the name. The cup is made of the fine jade quarried from Mt. Qilian containing abundant mineral substances. Using the cup to drink is good for people's health.


Camels are the most important animal for transportation on ancient Silk Road, which is called the pride of desert and people venerate its grittiness and hardworking, make flannelette effigies of it. It has been taken as the mascot of the China Art Festival. Now it is a specialty local tourist souvenir. The recommended factories or stores for tourists to buy handcrafts are as follows.


Shazhou Market, located on the East Yangguan Road, is a recommended place to buy locally made products. Those above mentioned products are available in the market, especially the delicate rubbing of fresco in the Mogao Cave. Moreover, there are snack stalls, craftworks and also the local fruits, you can choose whatever you like or want there.


Dunhuang Travel Guide

  Dunhuang Travel Tips: Transportation in Dunhuang


In ancient times, Dunhuang was an important city on the Silk Road. At that time, transportation in Dunhuang was of great importance since it connected China with the west in both business and culture. Today, the value of business has diminished along with that of the Silk Road. However, as a popular tourism city famous for its abundant cultural relics, transportation in Dunhuang is still important to those who are eager to experience its magnificent sights. Passengers can get to Dunhuang by air, train and long distance bus.

By Air: Dunhuang Airport (DNH) is located about 13 kilometers away to the east of Dunhuang City.  It operate a series of scheduled flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lanzhou and Urumqi.


By Train: There are now two railway stations available for your trip to and from Dunhuang: the Dunhuang Railway Station and the Liuyuan Railway Station. Dunhuang Railway Station is located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) away form the city center. At present, trains connecting Dunhuang with Jiayuguan, Xian, Lanzhou and Yinchuan leave from this station.

Before the opening of the Dunhuang Railway Station, Liuyuan Railway Station was the main transfer station. This station is about 128 kilometers (79.5 miles) north of the downtown area of Dunhuang. Tourists can travel directly by train to Liuyuan Railway Station from Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Chongqing, Lianyungang, Zhengzhou, Hankou, etc.


By Long-Distance Bus: There is only one bus station in Dunhuang, which is called Dunhuang Bus Station . The bus station is located at No.24 Mingshan Road, Shazhou Town, opposite Feitian Hotel.


China Travel in Dunhuang: Best Time to Visit Dunhuang


If you bring western China to mind, it is likely that most people have an impression of deserts, bad weather like sand storms and a harsh, arid environment and maybe the mysterious murals in the Dunhuang rock caves, etc. However, most people have gained such an impression from TV or books, in fact, most of the time, the weather in Dunhuang City is not so bad. The charm of western China is a special kind of desolate ruggedness. If you want to sample the unique appeal of Dunhuang, you should base your trip in around the features of western China, but not the weather.


Winter is bitingly cold season and is not suitable for traveling. March to October is suitable for visiting, with May to September offering the most clement weather, especially for visiting the caves, as there are no lighting facilities inside but the sunshine perfuse the caves with radiance at this time.

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