In 366AD, a monk named Le Zun traveled along the Silk Road, but stopped in Dunhuang when he saw a vision of a thousand Buddhas bathed in golden light at the site of the Mogao Grottoes.
He carved a cave into the rock face and lived there, and gradually more people came to practice Buddhism.
Later wealthy donors hired artisans to decorate caves for them, and the caves are covered from floor to ceiling in murals and statues dedicated to Buddha.
After the Yuan Dynasty, the caves were mostly forgotten until the 1900s when Western explorers were interested in the Silk Road.
As foreign visitors, we got to see only seven of them, but each one was very impressive. The caves cover over 1,000 years of history through Buddhist art and showcase the various art styles and beliefs.
This is a place I've wanted to visit for almost 10 years after seeing a replica in Beijing, and now seeing the Grottoes in person was nothing short of awe inspiring.
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