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Yungang Grottoes




Location: 10 mi (16 km) West of Datong, Shanxi province   Map

Tel. (0352) 510 2265

Open: 8:30am- 5:30pm daily




Description of Yungang Grottoes

Yungang Grottoes is a medieval Buddhist complex designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and situated 10 mi (16 km) West of Datong in Shanxi province in China. The work on the Yungang Grottoes religious complex started in the 5th century AD when Northern Wei dynasty took control of this region. China was fragmented at the time and nearby Datong (known at the time as Pingcheng) was the capital of the kingdom. Rulers of the country adopted Buddhism as the state religion and started a construction of a massive temple cut in the rock. The legend states that the first five caves were cut by a single monk Tan Yao. From 460 AD to 525 AD local peasant and monks alike cut over 252 caves with over 51,000 statues that adore them.


Additionally Yungang Grottoes complex contains around 1,100 minor caves. A Ming Dynasty-era fort is still located on top of the cliff housing the Yungang Grottoes. The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – then known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.