Bizaklik Thousand-Buddha Caves
As Buddhism was the first religion from abroad introduced to this area, Xinjiang witnessed the earliest development of Buddhist cave art in China. Soon after the religion's establishment in the region, Turpan became the Buddhist center on the Silk Road owing to its geographic location. Among the Buddhist caves found in Turpan, Bizalkik Thousand Buddha Caves are considered most valuable.
Bizalkik Thousand Buddha Caves stand high on the cliffs of west Mutou Valley under the Flaming Mountain, 45 km (28miles) east of Turpan. Of the 83 original caves, 57 caves currently remain. The murals cover an area over 1, 200 square meters (12,917 square feet) in more than 40 caves.
.They were called the Ningrong Grottoes in the Tang dynasty. There are 77 numbered grottoes, about 40 of which still have murals in them.The group of grottoes in Bizaklik, with a total of 1,200 square meters of murals, has the most grottoes, most diversified architectural styles and the richest mural content in the Turpan area. The oldest grottoes were hewn in the period of Qushi Gaochang from the Tang
dynasty right up to the Yuan dynasty in the thirteenth century. It was an important Buddhist gathering place. Its most
prosperous period was under the reign of the Xizhou Huigu government, which was built the royal temple of the King of existing grottoes were extended or reconstructed during the Huigu period.Huigu on this site. Most of the Even today,
one can still see on the remaining Buddhist murals the features of the King and Queen of Huigu and people of different status, as well as scenes of the lives of ancient Uygur people. Inscriptions in the ancient Huigu, Chinese and Brahmi
languages are valuable materials for research on the written languages and history of Xinjiang's various nationalities, and Uygur in particular.The murals depicting "Buddhist disciples wailing in mourning" and "Bhikku wailing in mourning"
on the back wall of the Grotto No.33 are rare artistic pieces which depict the inner feelings of the figures with vivid
images and individual characteristics. The ancient instruments shown in the mural depicting "Female Dancers on Performance" in Grotto No.16 and the mural of "Transformation in the Hell" in Grotto No.17 are seldom seen in Buddhist grottoes in China
Some travel tips to visitors of Bizalkik Thousand Buddha Caves:
1. As the Caves are located on the cliff, stay within the marked areas.
2. To protect the murals for future enjoyment, visitors should refrain from touching the murals and artifacts.
3. Remember, smoking is strictly prohibited in the caves.
4. After your visit to the caves, you may consider stopping at some of the other nearby attractions including:
1) Astana-Karakhoja Ancient Tombs, 12 km (7.5miles) from the Caves
2) Flaming Mountain, 13 km (8.1miles) from the Caves
3) Ancient City of Gaochang, 15 km (9.3miles) from the Caves