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Dunhuang
Dunhuang
( listen (help·info)) is a county-level city in northwestern Gansu
Gansu
Province, Western China. The 2000 Chinese census reported a population of 187,578 in this city. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road
Silk Road
and is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves. It has also been known at times as Shazhou[1] and, in Uyghur, Dukhan.[2] Dunhuang
Dunhuang
is situated in a oasis containing Crescent Lake and Mingsha Shan (鸣沙山, meaning "Singing-Sand Mountain"), named after the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes, the singing sand phenomenon. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
commands a strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route
Silk Route
and the main road leading from India via Lhasa
Lhasa
to Mongolia
Mongolia
and Southern Siberia,[1] as well as controlling the entrance to the narrow Hexi Corridor, which led straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an) and Luoyang.[3] Administratively, the county-level city of Dunhuang
Dunhuang
is part of the prefecture-level city of Jiuquan.

Contents

1 History 2 Culture

2.1 Buddhist
Buddhist
caves 2.2 Other historical sites 2.3 Museums 2.4 Night market

3 Geography

3.1 Climate

4 Transportation 5 See also 6 Gallery 7 Footnotes 8 References 9 External links

History[edit]

The ruins of a Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
(202 BC - 220 AD) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang.

There is evidence of habitation in the area as early as 2,000 BC, possibly by people recorded as the Qiang in Chinese history. Its name was also mentioned in relation to the homeland of the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
in the Records of the Grand Historian. Some have argued that this may refer to the unrelated toponym Dunhong – the archaeologist Lin Meicun has also suggested that Dunhuan may be a Chinese name for the Tukhara, a people widely believed to be a Central Asian offshoot of the Yuezhi.[4] By the third century BC, the area became dominated by the Xiongnu, but came under Chinese rule during the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
after Emperor Wu defeated the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
in 121 BC. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was one of the four frontier garrison towns (along with Jiuquan, Zhangye
Zhangye
and Wuwei) established by the Emperor Wu after the defeat of the Xiongnu, and the Chinese built fortifications at Dunhuang
Dunhuang
and sent settlers there. The name Dunhuang, meaning "Blazing Beacon", refers to the beacons lit to warn of attacks by marauding nomadic tribes. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Commandery was probably established shortly after 104 BC.[5] Located in the western end of the Hexi Corridor
Hexi Corridor
near the historic junction of the Northern and Southern Silk Roads, Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was a town of military importance.[6]

"The Great Wall was extended to Dunhuang, and a line of fortified beacon towers stretched westwards into the desert. By the second century AD Dunhuang
Dunhuang
had a population of more than 76,000 and was a key supply base for caravans that passed through the city: those setting out for the arduous trek across the desert loaded up with water and food supplies, and others arriving from the west gratefully looked upon the mirage-like sight of Dunhuang's walls, which signified safety and comfort. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
prospered on the heavy flow of traffic. The first Buddhist
Buddhist
caves in the Dunhuang
Dunhuang
area were hewn in 353."[7]

White Horse Pagoda, Dunhuang

During the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, it was the main stop of communication between ancient China
China
and the rest of the world and a major hub of commerce of the Silk Road. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was the intersection city of all three main silk routes(north, central, south) during this time. From the West also came early Buddhist
Buddhist
monks who had arrived in China by the first century AD, and a sizable Buddhist
Buddhist
community eventually developed in Dunhuang. The caves carved out by the monks, originally used for meditation, developed into a place of worship and pilgrimage called the Mogao Caves
Mogao Caves
or "Caves of a Thousand Buddhas."[8] A number of Christian, Jewish, and Manichaean
Manichaean
artifacts have also been found in the caves (see for example Jesus Sutras), testimony to the wide variety of people who made their way along the Silk Road. During the time of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Li Gao established the Western Liang here in 400 AD. In 405 the capital of the Western Liang was moved from Dunhuang
Dunhuang
to Jiuquan. In 421 the Western Liang was conquered by the Northern Liang.

Tang Period (618-907) Buddhist
Buddhist
sutra fragment from Dunhuang

As a frontier town, Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was fought over and occupied at various times by non-Han people. After the fall of Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
it came under the rule of various nomadic tribes, such as the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
during Northern Liang
Northern Liang
and the Turkic Tuoba
Tuoba
during Northern Wei. The Tibetans occupied Dunhuang
Dunhuang
when the Tang empire became weakened considerably after the An Lushan Rebellion; and even though it was later returned to Tang rule, it was under quasi-autonomous rule by the local general Zhang Yichao
Zhang Yichao
who expelled the Tibetans in 848. After the fall of Tang, Zhang's family formed the Kingdom of Golden Mountain in 910,[9] but in 911 it came under the influence of the Uighurs. The Zhangs were succeeded by the Cao family who formed alliances with the Uighurs and the Kingdom of Khotan. During the Song Dynasty, Dunhuang
Dunhuang
fell outside the Chinese borders. In 1036 the Tanguts who founded the Xi Xia Dynasty captured Dunhuang.[9] From the reconquest of 848 to about 1036 (i.e. era of the Guiyi Circuit), Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was a multicultural entrepot that contained one of the largest ethnic Sogdian communities in China following the An Lushan Rebellion. The Sogdians were Sinified to some extent and were bilingual in Chinese and Sogdian. Their documents in Chinese characters
Chinese characters
were written horizontally from left to right, the same way the Sogdian alphabet
Sogdian alphabet
is read, instead of vertical line (or right to left if horizontal) that Chinese was normally written at the time.[10] Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was conquered in 1227 by the Mongols
Mongols
who sacked and destroyed the town, and the rebuilt town became part of the Mongol Empire in the wake of Kublai Khan' s conquest of China
China
under the Yuan Dynasty. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
went into a steep decline after the Chinese trade with the outside world became dominated by Southern sea-routes, and the Silk Road was officially abandoned during the Ming Dynasty. It was occupied again by the Tibetans c. 1516, and also came under the influence of the Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
in the early sixteenth century.[11] It was retaken by China
China
two centuries later c. 1715 during the Qing Dynasty, and the present-day city of Dunhuang
Dunhuang
was established east of the ruined old city in 1725.[12]

Dunhuang
Dunhuang
classical dance

Today, the site is an important tourist attraction and the subject of an ongoing archaeological project. A large number of manuscripts and artifacts retrieved at Dunhuang
Dunhuang
have been digitized and made publicly available via the International Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Project.[13] The expansion of the Kumtag Desert, which is resulting from long-standing overgrazing of surrounding lands, has reached the edges of the city.[14] In 2011 satellite images showing huge structures in the desert near Dunhuang
Dunhuang
surfaced online and caused a brief media stir.[15] Culture[edit] Buddhist
Buddhist
caves[edit] Main article: Mogao Caves A number of Buddhist
Buddhist
cave sites are located in the Dunhuang
Dunhuang
area, the most important of these is the Mogao Caves
Mogao Caves
which is located 25 km (16 mi) southeast of Dunhuang. There are 735 caves in Mogao, and the caves in Mogao are particularly noted for their Buddhist
Buddhist
art,[16] as well as the hoard of manuscripts, the Dunhuang
Dunhuang
manuscripts, found hidden in a sealed-up cave. Many of these caves were covered with murals and contain many Buddhist
Buddhist
statues. Discoveries continue to be found in the caves, including excerpts from a Christian Bible
Bible
dating to the Yuan Dynasty.[17] Numerous smaller Buddhist
Buddhist
cave sites are located in the region, including the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, the Eastern Thousands Buddha Caves, and the Five Temple site. The Yulin Caves
Yulin Caves
are located further east in Guazhou County. Other historical sites[edit]

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake The Yumen Pass, built in 111 BC, located 90 km (56 mi) northwest of Dunhuang
Dunhuang
in the Gobi desert. The Yangguan
Yangguan
Pass White Horse Pagoda Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Limes

Museums[edit]

These rammed earth ruins of a granary in Hecang Fortress (Chinese: 河仓城; Pinyin: Hécāngchéng), located ~11 km (7 miles) northeast of the Western-Han-era Yumen Pass, were built during the Western Han
Western Han
(202 BC - 9 AD) and significantly rebuilt during the Western Jin
Western Jin
(280-316 AD).[18]

Dunhuang
Dunhuang
County Museum

Night market[edit] Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Night Market is a night market held on the main thoroughfare, Dong Dajie, in the city centre of Dunhuang, popular with tourists during the summer months. Many souvenir items are sold, including such typical items as jade, jewelry, scrolls, hangings, small sculptures, leather shows puppets, coins, Tibetan horns and Buddha statues.[19] A sizable number of members of China's ethnic minorities engage in business at these markets. A Central Asian dessert or sweet is also sold, consisting of a large, sweet confection made with nuts and dried fruit, sliced into the portion desired by the customer. Geography[edit] Climate[edit] Dunhuang
Dunhuang
has a cold desert climate (Köppen BWk), with an annual total precipitation of 67 millimetres (2.64 in), the majority of which occurs in summer; precipitation occurs only in trace amounts and quickly evaporates.[20] Winters are long and cold, with a 24-hour average temperature of −8.3 °C (17.1 °F) in January, while summers are hot, with a July average of 24.6 °C (76.3 °F); the annual mean is 9.48 °C (49.1 °F). The diurnal temperature variation averages 16.1 °C (29.0 °F) annually. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 69% in March to 82% in October, the city receives 3,258 hours of bright sunshine annually, making it one of the sunniest nationwide.

Climate data for Dunhuang
Dunhuang
(1971−2000)

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Average high °C (°F) −0.8 (30.6) 4.9 (40.8) 12.7 (54.9) 21.2 (70.2) 27.0 (80.6) 30.9 (87.6) 32.7 (90.9) 31.7 (89.1) 26.8 (80.2) 18.8 (65.8) 8.4 (47.1) 0.6 (33.1) 17.9 (64.2)

Average low °C (°F) −14.6 (5.7) −10.5 (13.1) −3.2 (26.2) 4.1 (39.4) 9.6 (49.3) 13.9 (57) 16.4 (61.5) 14.6 (58.3) 8.5 (47.3) 0.6 (33.1) −5.5 (22.1) −12 (10) 1.8 (35.3)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 0.8 (0.031) 0.8 (0.031) 2.1 (0.083) 2.4 (0.094) 2.4 (0.094) 8.0 (0.315) 15.2 (0.598) 6.3 (0.248) 1.5 (0.059) 0.8 (0.031) 1.3 (0.051) 0.8 (0.031) 42.4 (1.666)

Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.5 0.9 1.2 1.3 1.3 3.7 4.8 2.6 0.9 0.5 1.1 1.3 21.1

Average relative humidity (%) 52 40 35 31 33 42 45 45 45 45 51 55 43.3

Mean monthly sunshine hours 219.0 218.6 254.9 282.4 320.2 313.6 318.9 316.1 296.1 280.8 230.4 206.8 3,257.8

Percent possible sunshine 74 73 69 71 72 70 70 75 79 82 77 72 73.7

Source: China
China
Meteorological Administration

Transportation[edit]

Dunhuang
Dunhuang
train station

Dunhuang
Dunhuang
is served by China
China
National Highway 215 and Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Airport, A railway branch known as the Dunhuang Railway (敦煌铁路) or the Liudun Railway (柳敦铁路), constructed in 2004-2006, connects Dunhuang
Dunhuang
with the Liugou Station on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway
Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway
(in Guazhou County). There is regular passenger service on the line, with overnight trains from Dunhuang
Dunhuang
to Lanzhou
Lanzhou
and Xi'an.[21] Dunhuang Station is located northeast of town, near the airport. There are plans to extend the railway from Dunhuang
Dunhuang
further south into Qinghai, connecting Dunhuang
Dunhuang
to Yinmaxia (near Golmud) on the Qingzang Railway. Construction work on this Golmud– Dunhuang Railway started in October 2012, and is expected to be completed in 5 years.[22] See also[edit]

Three hares
Three hares
(as a decorative motif) Major National Historical and Cultural Sites (Gansu) Bhadrakalpikasutra Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Star Chart Aurel Stein Paul Pelliot

Gallery[edit]

The Singing Sand Dunes on the eastern edge of the Kumtag Desert
Kumtag Desert
near Dunhuang.

Sculpture in Dunhuang, after a mural in Mogao Caves, depicting an Apsara
Apsara
playing the pipa behind her back (Chinese: 反弹琵琶伎乐天).

Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Airport.

Mogao Caves, a.k.a. Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Grottoes.

Footnotes[edit]

^ a b Cable and French (1943), p. 41. ^ Skrine (1926), p. 117. ^ Lovell (2006), pp. 74-75. ^ Lin Meicun (1998 ), The Western Regions of the Han–Tang Dynasties and the Chinese Civilization [ Chinese language
Chinese language
only], Beijing, Wenwu Chubanshe, pp. 64–67. ^ Hulsewé, A. F. P. (1979). China
China
in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. Leiden, E. Brill, . pp.75-76 ISBN 90-04-05884-2 ^ Hill (2015), Vol. I, pp. 137-140. ^ Bonavia (2004), p. 162. ^ The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia, by Frances Wood ^ a b " Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Studies - Chronology and History". Silkroad Foundation.  ^ Galambos, Imre (2015), "She Association Circulars from Dunhuang", in Antje Richter, A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture, Brill: Leiden, Boston, pp 853-77. ^ Tim Pepper (1996). Trudy Ring, Noelle Watson, Paul Schellinger, eds. Asia and Oceania: International Dictionary of Historic Places. Routledge. pp. 239–241. ISBN 978-1884964046. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Whitfield, Roderick, Susan Whitfield, and Neville Agnew. (2000). Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road. The British Library. ISBN 0-7123-4697-X. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ "The International Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Project". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 29 July 2011.  ^ "Ancient Chinese town on front lines of desertification battle, AFP, Nov 20, 2007".  ^ "Odd patterns in Chinese desert? Spy satellite targets., MSNBC".  ^ Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Mogao caves art museum ^ Syrian Language "Holy Bible" Discovered in Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Grottoes ^ Wang Xudang, Li Zuixiong, and Zhang Lu (2010). "Condition, Conservation, and Reinforcement of the Yumen Pass
Yumen Pass
and Hecang Earthen Ruins Near Dunhuang", in Neville Agnew (ed), Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Conservation of Grotto Sites, Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, People's Republic of China, June 28 - July 3, 2004, 351-357. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Trust. ISBN 978-1-60606-013-1, pp 351-352. ^ China. Eye Witness Travel Guides. p. 494.  ^ " Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Climate − Best time to visit". Retrieved 2009-12-06.  ^ Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Train Schedule (in Chinese) ^ 格尔木至敦煌铁路开工, Renmin Tielu Bao, 2012-10-20

References[edit]

Baumer, Christoph. 2000. Southern Silk Road: In the Footsteps of Sir Aurel Stein
Aurel Stein
and Sven Hedin. White Orchid Books. Bangkok. Beal, Samuel. 1884. Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist
Buddhist
Records of the Western World, by Hiuen Tsiang. 2 vols. Trans. by Samuel Beal. London. Reprint: Delhi. Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. 1969. Beal, Samuel. 1911. The Life of Hiuen-Tsiang by the Shaman Hwui Li, with an Introduction containing an account of the Works of I-Tsing. Trans. by Samuel Beal. London. 1911. Reprint: Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi. 1973. Bonavia, Judy (2004): The Silk Road
Silk Road
From Xi'an
Xi'an
to Kashgar. Judy Bonavia – revised by Christoph Baumer. 2004. Odyssey Publications. Cable, Mildred and Francesca French (1943): The Gobi Desert. London. Landsborough Publications. Galambos, Imre (2015), "She Association Circulars from Dunhuang", in Antje Richter, A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture, Brill: Leiden, Boston, pp 853–77. Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [1] Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China
China
in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden. Legge, James. Trans. and ed. 1886. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: being an account by the Chinese monk Fâ-hsien of his travels in India and Ceylon (AD 399-414) in search of the Buddhist
Buddhist
Books of Discipline. Reprint: Dover Publications, New York. 1965. Lok, Wai-ying. (2012). The significance of Dunhuang
Dunhuang
iconography from the perspective of Buddhist
Buddhist
philosophy: a study mainly based on Cave 45 (PDF) (PhD Dissertation). The University of Hong Kong. Lovell, Julia (2006). The Great Wall : China
China
against the World. 1000 BC — AD 2000. Atlantic Books, London. ISBN 978-1-84354-215-5. Skrine, C. P. (1926). Chinese Central Asia. Methuen, London. Reprint: Barnes & Noble, New York. 1971. ISBN 0-416-60750-0. Stein, Aurel M. 1907. Ancient Khotan: Detailed report of archaeological explorations in Chinese Turkestan, 2 vols. Clarendon Press. Oxford. [2] Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia
Central Asia
and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980. [3] Watson, Burton (1993). Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
of China. Han Dynasty II. (Revised Edition). New York, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08167-7 Watters, Thomas (1904–1905). On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India. London. Royal Asiatic Society. Reprint: 1973.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dunhuang.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Dunhuang.

The International Dunhuang Project
International Dunhuang Project
- includes tens of thousands of digitised manuscripts and paintings from Dunhuang, along with historical photographs and archival material British Museum: A Christian figure, ink and colours on a fragment of silk from Dunhuang Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Collection at the British Museum[permanent dead link] Dunhuang
Dunhuang
at the British Museum (accessed 30 Jan 2018) Qianfodong at the British Museum (accessed 30 Jan 2018) Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Collection at the National Museum of India "Dunhuang". Silk Road
Silk Road
Seattle. USA: Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, University of Washington. 

v t e

County-level divisions of Gansu
Gansu
Province

Lanzhou
Lanzhou
(capital)

Prefecture-level cities

Lanzhou

Chengguan District Qilihe District Xigu District Anning District Honggu District Yongdeng County Gaolan County Yuzhong County

Jiayuguan

v t e

Jiayuguan

Xiongguan District*

Shengli Subdistrict Wuyi Subdistrict Yuquan Town Kuangshan Administrative Area

Changcheng District*

Jianshe Subdistrict Xinhua Subdistrict Xincheng Town

Jingtie District*

Chaoyang Subdistrict Qianjin Subdistrict Yuyuan Subdistrict Wenshu Town

* Not a formal administrative subdivision

Jinchang

Jinchuan District Yongchang County

Baiyin

Baiyin
Baiyin
District Pingchuan District Jingyuan County Huining County Jingtai County

Tianshui

Qinzhou District Maiji District Qingshui County Qin'an County Gangu County Wushan County Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County

Wuwei

Liangzhou District Minqin County Gulang County Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County

Zhangye

Ganzhou District Minle County Linze County Gaotai County Shandan County Sunan Yugur Autonomous County

Pingliang

Kongtong District Jingchuan County Lingtai County Chongxin County Huating County Zhuanglang County Jingning County

Jiuquan

Suzhou District Yumen City Dunhuang
Dunhuang
City Jinta County Guazhou County Subei Mongol Autonomous County Aksai Kazakh Autonomous County

Qingyang

Xifeng District Qingcheng County Huan County Huachi County Heshui County Zhengning County Ning County Zhenyuan County

Dingxi

Anding District Tongwei County Lintao County Zhang County Min County Weiyuan County Longxi County

Longnan

Wudu District Cheng County Tanchang County Kang County Wen County Xihe County Li County Liangdang County Hui County

Autonomous prefectures

Linxia

Linxia City Linxia County Kangle County Yongjing County Guanghe County Hezheng County Dongxiang Autonomous County Jishishan Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous County

Gannan

Hezuo
Hezuo
City Lintan County Jonê County Zhugqu County Têwo County Maqu County Luqu County Xiahe County

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 258771346 GND: 4061210-7 BNF: cb119630224 (d

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