Yungang Caves - 云冈石窟

The Yungang Caves in photos

Presentation of Yungang Caves

The Yungang Grottoes, located near Datong, are a site to be discovered along the journey between Beijing and Xi’an.

The caves of Yungang or “Cloudy Crete” are located 16 km west of Datong, extend about 1 km from east to west and contain more than 50,000 Buddhist statues, of Persian influence, Byzantine, Greek and Hindu, including a colossal statue of Buddha of 17m high.

A legend tells that during the Northern Wei Dynasty, Emperor Tai Wu suddenly gave up Buddhism and ordered its eradication. Many monks were hunted, and temples destroyed, but his eradication campaign just started, he fell ill and died. His grandson succeeded him as Emperor. The latter, interpreting the death of his grandfather as a sign of divine punishment, did everything in his power to revive Buddhism, and so he ordered the construction of the Yungang caves at the foot of Mount Wuzhou (one of the five sacred mountains of China). More than ten thousand men were employed. The construction of the site came to an end when the capital was moved from Datong to Luoyang.

In 2001, the site was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Useful information

Plan half a day for the visit.

Chinese Name : Yún gāng shíkū – 云冈 石窟

From Central Station, take the tourist bus line 603 (3¥). Get off at Yungang 云冈 after around 1hour driving.

Ticket price : 125¥

Opening hours :
– From 15 April to 27 October: 8:30 to 17:20 (8:30am to 5:20pm)
– From 28 October to 14 April: 8:30 to 17:00 (8:30am to 5pm

Tip: Start early in the morning and plan a picnic, the park is nice for that.

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