Maijishan grottoes Tours – Tianshui, Gansu Province, China

By Robin Su,

Charming Silk Road Tour in China

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Maijishan grottoes
麦积山石窟

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45km, southeast of Tianshui city, China, Gansu Province, Tianshui
Hours : 8:30am--4:30pm

About this place

The scenic area of Majishan grottoes is located 45 kilometers southeast ofTianshui  City, the northern foot of the western section of the Qinling Mountains. Maiji Mountain Grottoes is an important scenic spot in Maiji Mountain Scenic and Historic Interest Area. It is a national 5A class tourist attraction. It is named because the shape of the mountain resembles the shape of a wheat stack. Maijishan Grottoes is one of the four famous grottoes in China, known as the"Oriental Sculpture Hall". The other three grottoes are Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang ,Yungang Grottoes in Datong and Mogao Grottoesin Dunhuang. On June 22, 2014, at the 38th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar,Maijishan Grottoes was successfully included in the World Heritage List as one of the sites on the "Silk Road of Changan - Tianshan Corridor Network", a joint application of China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The grottoes and niches are cut into vertical cliff which is 20-80 meters high and 200 meters wide. A striking feature of the Maijishan Grottoes is that the caves are located in an extremely dangerous location. Most of the caves are cut into the cliffs, and the caves are all accessible by plank road set up in the cliff. As climbing on these winding plank road, visitors normally can not help being thrilling. A proverb is still spread in locals that finish cutting all of firewood in Nanshan mountain , then Maiji grottoes were built up. Because they need cut the wood to build something like scaffold for safety before they cut the grottoes. It can be seen that the excavation of caves and the construction of the plank road project are really huge. At beginning Maijishan Grottoes was founded in the Late Qin(384―417AD) Period of the Sixteen States. It has gone through the Western Qin Dynasty, Northern Wei Dynasty, Northern Wei Dynasty, Northern Zhou Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, and lasted more than 1,600 years, and has been excavated and repaired continuously. Because of the great earthquake occurred in 734 AD of Tang Dynasty , the central cliff collapsed, and then the cliff was naturally divided into two parts for east cliff and west cliff.There are totally 194 caves and niches in existence, including 54 caves in the Middle East Cliff and 140 caves in the West Cliff. There are more than 7,800 clay sculptures ,stone statues and murals of more than 1,000 square meters. The largest statue is Dongya Buddha, which is 15.8 meters high. The caves are connected by the walkway, and the interior and exterior of the caves are mostly imitation wood structures. .

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