Yulin Caves & Dunhuang Museum
Today, drive about 2 hours (165 km) to Yulin Caves, the ‘sister cave’ of Mogao Caves situated at the east of Dunhuang. Its name comes from the eponymous elm trees lining the Yulin River, which flows through the site and separates the two cliffs. This cave is less-known to the tourists, but nonetheless impressive!
The 42 caves house 250 polychrome statues and 4,200 sqm of wall paintings, dating from the Tang Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty. You will access more specially preserved caves portraying different Buddhism arts. Uniquely, the paintings are not frescoes, but instead executed on an earthen render with minerals and organic pigments.
Finally, visit Dunhuang Museum to understand the role and development of Dunhuang as a crossroad of civilization, religion and culture of Silk Road civilization. Admire the impressive collection of written sutras and relics excavated from the caves.