Turpan
Thousand-Buddha Caves
Thousand-Buddha Caves

Bezeklik is a major Buddhist site in the heart of the Flaming Mountains 35 miles northeast of Turpan. Bezeklik means "place of paintings" in Uighur. The caves were hewn into the cliffside, and large murals, like those at Dunhung, were painted on the walls and ceilings.

 

Monks used to live inside the caves and the frescoes here clearly represent the life work of generations of devotees. Unfortunately, this place was damaged by the locals who converted to Islam in the 10th century and looted by the western archaeologists in the early 20th century.

 

The Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves are complex of Buddhist cave grottos dating from the 5th to the 9th centuries between the cities of Turpan and Shanshan (Loulan) at the north-east of the Taklamakan Desert near the ancient ruins of Gaochang in the Mutou Valley, a gorge in the Flaming Mountains, China.  They are high on the cliffs of the west Mutou Valley under the Flaming Mountains.

 


    

 

There are 77 rock-cut caves at the site. Most have rectangular spaces with rounded arch ceilings often divided into four sections, each with a mural of Buddha. The effect is of entire ceiling covers with hundreds of Buddha murals. Some ceilings are painted with a large Buddha surrounded by other figures, including Indians, Persians and Europeans. The quality of the murals vary with some being artistically naive while others are masterpieces of religious art.

 

Hours: 8:30—17:30
Admission: RMB 20/P.P.