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Dunhuang

Administration
Full nameDunhuang
Settlement typeCounty-level city
CountryPeople's Republic of China
ProvinceGansu
Prefecture-level cityJiuquan
Geography
Elevation3746.7 ft (1142 m)
Demography
Total Population187578 (2000)
Density (pop.)auto/km2 (0/sq mi)
Other information
Time zoneCST (UTC+8)

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Dunhuang ( , also known as ('Blazing Beacon') in ancient times) is a city (pop. 187,578 (2000)) in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. Its earlier name was Shazhou (沙州), or 'City of Sands', a name still used today. It is best known for the nearby Dunhuang Caves.

It is situated in a rich oasis containing Crescent Lake (月牙泉) and Mingsha Shan (鸣沙山, literally "Echoing-Sand Mountain"). Mingsha Shan is so named for the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes, the singing sand phenomenon.

It commands a very strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route and the main road leading from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and Southern Siberia, as well as controlling the entrance to the narrow Gansu Corridor which led straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an) and Luoyang.


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