City overview
Dunhuang, the prestigious city of Gansu province, lies at the joint point of three provinces--- Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang. Dunhuang is famous for its prosperity in ancient China, as well as the profound cultural connotation. The primary industry of Dunhuang is agriculture, and the second one is tourism industry.
 
Dunhuang lies at the western end of the Gansu Corridor, called Hexi Zoulang. The name Dunhuang originally meant "prospering, flourishing"-- a hint that Dunhuang must once have been an important city. Its position at the intersection of two trade routes was what made Dunhuang flourish. The coming and going of horse and camel caravans carried new thoughts, ideas, arts and sciences to the East and West.
 
Dunhuang was made a prefecture in 117 BC by Emperor Han Wudi, and was a major point of interchange between ancient China and Central Asia during the Han and Tang dynasties. Located near the historic junction of the Northern and Southern Silk Roads, it was a town of military importance. Its name is mentioned as part of the homeland of the Yuezhi or "Rouzhi" in the Shiji , but this mention has also been identified with an unrelated toponym, Dunhong. Edges of the city are threatened with being engulfed by the expansion of the Kumtag Desert, which is resulting from longstanding overgrazing of surrounding lands. Dunhuang is safe place for traders to cross.
 
Early Buddhist monks accessed Dunhuang via the ancient Northern Silk Road, the northernmost route of about 2600 kilometers in length, which connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar. For centuries Buddhist monks at Dunhuang collected scriptures from the west, and many pilgrims passed through the area, painting murals inside the Mogao Caves or "Caves of a Thousand Buddhas." A small number of Christian artifacts have also been found in the caves (see Jesus Sutras), testimony to the wide variety of people who made their way along the Silk Road. Today, the site is an important tourist attraction and the subject of an ongoing archaeological project. A large number of manuscripts and artifacts retrieved at Dunhuang have been digitized and made publicly available via the International Dunhuang Project.
2012 China University Ranking
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