Mogao Caves are open to the public since 1980 (only forty caves are open to the public, rolling , ten permanent) form a system of 492 Buddhist temples near Dunhuang in Gansu Province in China, margin Gobi Desert. These temples were developed in 492 caves carved into the rock face by monks from the fourth century. The first caves were not larger than coffins. Monastic communities began to quickly drill larger cavities for acts of public devotion , and to adorn the shrines of Buddha effigies . This is the first caves that the name comes from the caves of the thousand Buddhas, or Caves Dunhuang . Some of these caves are home to statues of Buddha very large . Buddhist monks placed tens of thousands of manuscripts and paintings in a small room adjacent to one of the caves.
These caves were places of worship of great importance on the Silk Road . Their achievement was spread over a long period IV to XIV century , with a peak in the Tang Dynasty, between the seventh and tenth century . It is also in this period that the most beautiful caves .
In 1900, a small walled cave was discovered accidentally , it proved to contain tens of thousands of documents, statues and other objects , often older than 1000 years. Much of these cultural treasures were bought by western explorers, in particular Sir Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot .