The Silk Road once played an important role in the economic and cultural exchanges between the east and the west, and bequeathed a wealth of cultural relics. Grotto art is a magnificent part of this legacy. China's grottoes are mainly scattered along the Silk Road in Gansu Province.
The Silk Road started at Van, capital of Shaanxi Province. The South Grottoes, North Grottoes, Wangmugong Grottoes, Mount Xumi Grottoes and Shi'ergou Grottoes are found along the northern route, and the Mount Maiji Grottoes, Mount Daxiang Grottoes, Huagai Temple Grottoes, Shuiliandong Grottoes, Muti Temple Grottoes and Bingling Temple Grottoes are located on the southern route.
These two routes met at Wuwei and went on to Dunhuang via Zhangye and Jiuquan in the Hexi Corridor along the Yellow River. Along this stretch are the Yulin Grottoes, Mogao Grottoes and Western ThousandBuddha Grottoes. Apart from the Mount Xumi Grotto in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, all the grottoes are in Gansu Province.
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