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Yungang Grottoes

Address: Datong City, Shanxi Province N40 6 34.992 E113 7 19.992
The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves created by Tan Yao, with their strict unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese Buddhist art.

  • History
  • Architecture
  • Organization

The statues of the Yungang Grottoes were completed in sixty years (460-525 CE); this period marks the peak of development in Buddhist cave art of the Northern Wei Dynasty. When the first emperor assumed the throne, Buddhism flourished and in 460 the monk Tan Yao started the carving of the Five Caves; since then, these grottoes have become the centre of Buddhist art in North China.

Between 471 and 494 the worship of Buddha was diffused among the imperial members and nobles. Thus, as many as twelve large caves and as many as 70% of the total number of the big caves were dug and Chongfu Temple was built. By 525 CE the initial project, sponsored by the court, was mostly completed, but lowranking officials and monks continued to dig more caves and carve statues. These caves number more than 200; although they are relatively small, some are of excellent quality. During the Liao Dynasty, wooden shelter structures were built in front of the caves, turning the grottoes into temple buildings, such as the Ten Famous Temples. In 1122 CE, these temples were destroyed in a war. Four-storeyed wooden-structured garrets, each with five rooms, were constructed in front of Caves 5 and 6, and three-storeyed structures with three rooms each were in front of Cave 7 in1651 CE.

Since the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the major caves and the wooden structures in front of them (caves 5, 6, and 7) have all been conserved. The grottoes are protected and are open to the public.

They consist of 252 caves of various sizes housing more than 51,000 statues; the site extends much as 1 km east-west. Three main periods can be identified in the construction: the Early Period (460-65), the Middle Period (c . 471-94) and the Late Period (494-525). Apart from the grottoes, the nominated core area includes the remains of a castle, a defence wall, and a beacon tower of the Ming dynasty on the plain above the grottoes. The grottoes of the early period (460-65) are composed of five main caves; these magnificent and simple caves were dug under the direction of the monk Tan Yao and are named after him. Each cave has a door and a window.

They form the essence of the Yungang Grottoes, consisting of large caves, including four groups of twin caves and one group of triple caves. These caves are square in plan, usually with chambers both in front and in the rear; The shelters in the style of wooden structures are supported by octagonal pillars.

The grottoes of the late period (494-525) are located in the west of the grotto area, in the Dragon King Temple Valley. In total, over 200 caves and niches were cut in this period. These caves are of medium and small size with varied and complicated irregular shapes.

The Yungang Research Institute has intensifiedthe conservation, research and scenic development of the property in ascientific manner.

This effort, as requested by the city Government, has witnessed theconstruction of a widened tourist route, expanded scenic area and the improvedenvironment. The Yungang Grottoes have taken a new look with a magnificentlyrestored relics group and a well planned route focusing on the imperial grottotemple and gardens, old shops, residences and architecture.

Tour guide
  • Opening hours
  • Transportation
  • Ticket service
  • Directions

Peakseason business hours are available from April 15 to October 31 every year.

Time to sell tickets and open: 8:10 a.m.

Time to close the window: 17:30

Time to close the site: 18:30

Off-season business hours are available from November 1st to April 14 every year.

Time to sell tickets and open: 8:30 a.m.

Time to close the window: 17:00

Time to close the site: 18:00

The Yungang Grottoes are open to the public all the year round and business hours vary between peak and off-seasons. The business hours also change in case of important activities or under special circumstances. Please follow up the bullet in board of the website for the change.

The Yungang Grottoes, known as Wuzhoushan Grottoes in ancient times, are located on the southern foot of the Wuzhou Mountains, in the Shi Li River valley, 16 km west of Datong City

If you want to have a self driving tour,please enter the loop highway of Datong and exit the highway at the Yungang sign and continue driving on the Yungang Road westward to the destination.

If you want go by bus,please look at the picture.


Tips for buying a ticket:

The Ticket Office lies in the Visitor Service Centre.Tickets for individual tourists are purchased at the north window on the 2nd floor and tickets for group tourists are purchased at the south window on the 2nd floor. The post-payment vouchers from the Travel Service and other companiescan be conducted at the south window on the 2nd floor. Cash and Union Pay credit cards are acceptable to buy tickets. The Yungang Grottoes Academy will make prior notifications in case of the price fluctuations. So please keep a close eye on our website.

Ticket Price

1. Current price is RMB/Yuan 120 per person.

2. The children with the height less than 140 cm are free of charge but they need to be accompanied by guardians during the visit.

3. The full-time students pay RMB Yuan 75 perperson with valid certificates (students for further education and adults for training courses are notexempted).

4. Military service personnel and the disabled persons enjoy free tickets by showing valid certificates.

5. The elderly above 60 years old enjoy half rateand those above 70 enjoy free tickets by showing valid certificates.

6. It is the responsible of buyers to make sure of the change after tickets are purchased.

7. The ticket is non-refundable and valid for one day after the purchase.

Tel: 0352-3029625

  • Books
  • Documentary film
  • Movie and Television play
  • Music



Author: 赵一德



Date of Publication: 1998-10




Author: 宿白



Date of Publication: 1996-01

Press: 文物出版社



Author: 张焯


ISBN: 7501018766

Date of Publication: 2006-2-1






ISBN: 9787563339396

Date of Publication:2003

Press: 广西师范大学出版社



Running time:11minutes

2.《中国古都 天下大同——云冈石窟》(上)

Directed by:凤凰网


Running time:4minutes

3.《中国古都 天下大同——云冈石窟》(下)

Running time:4minutes


Directed by:关晖


Running time:15minutes


Running time:15minutes


1.《Jstars courtyard》

Directed by:Humei

Screenplay by:Zhu Xiumei

The number of TV set:45

Running time of every set:45minutes

Starring:Chen Jianbin/Jinag Qinqin/Ma Yili/Ni Dahong/Juanzi/Lei Kesheng





Composer: 冬冬 许彪


  • Current
  • Upcoming
  • Past

For the layout of the grottoes, large caves were dug to house the giant statues, 13-15m tall. They have a U-shaped plan and arched roofs, imitating the thatched sheds in ancient India. The central images have tall bodies and occupy the major part of the caves, while on the outer walls 1,000 Buddhist statues are carved, a feature rarely seen in the tradition of Chinese history of grotto carving. The central images have tall bodies and occupy the major part of the caves, while on the outer walls 1,000 Buddhist statues are carved, a feature rarely seen in the tradition of Chinese history of grotto carving.

Crvings of the middle period on the walls are divided into upper and lower bands and right and left sections. Level caisson ceilings are carved on the roofs in most cases. On both sides of the outer walls there are high double-floored attics, and monuments stand high in the centre of the courtyard. The shelters in the style of wooden structures are supported by octagonal pillars, each carved with 1,000 Buddhas. The walls inside the caves are covered by long rolls of paintings divided into different layers and columns.

At the late period, Decorations were also carved on the cliff around the door of the caves. There is a tendency towards simplification of the contents of the statuary and stylizing the forms, but with a new look of delicacy and gracefulness.

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