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Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves

Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves

Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves are located at the foot of Flaming Mountain, 45 kilometers east to Turpan City, and near the ancient ruins of Gaochang. They are groups of Buddhist grottos that date back to the late Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589) and were finished in the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1370).

With a total area of 1,200 square meters, there were once 83 caves, but only 57 remain relatively intact in the cave. There are over 40 murals that are of religious and artistic significance in the caves which are located highly in a gorge. Each cave has a rectangular shape with a round arch ceiling and a mural of Buddha surrounded by other figures.

The Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves have survived many Dynasties. They present the religious life of Gaochang and other countries such as India and European countries throughout various periods of the Dynasties. 

The caves are all numbered. The 17th and 18th caves were excavated in the late Northern and Southern Dynasties, the 16th in the mid-Tang Dynasty, and the 51st in the Gaochang Period. The 69th cave lies within the 20th cave where there are murals of the King and Queen of Gaochang. The 33rd cave describe state of Buddhist “Nirvana” of the Buddhist disciples; and the 38th is the life scenes of the ancient Manichees. All of them indicate that Bezeklik was an important Buddhist Center in Gaochang. Also, the murals have provided vivid historical accounts for historians and archeologists.

The murals in the Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Cave have a variety of themes. There are Buddhist statues, large scale scripture paintings, flying dragons, statues of Emperors, and other decorated patterns and vivid stories.

Due to the effects of years of wars, many of the murals and caves were damaged. Despite that, the remains have preserved the elegance and bright colors. The Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Cave is a large treasure house of culture and art.