Gaochang District, Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
One of the largest Buddhist grottoes in Xinjiang.
Bezeklik Caves, also known as the Bizaklik Thousand-Buddha Caves (Chinese name: 柏孜克里克千佛洞), is located in a gorgeous valley of the Flaming Mountains. More than 100 caves were hewn out of this cliff face between the 6th and 9th centuries by Buddhist monks who farmed the valley below. They were abandoned at about the same time as Gaochang Ancient City and Jiaohe Ancient City after the Muslim take over of the region in the late 14th century.
There are 77 rock-cut caves at the Bezeklik Caves. Most have rectangular spaces with rounded arch ceilings often divided into four sections, each with a mural of Buddha. The effect is of entire ceiling covers with hundreds of Buddha murals. Some ceilings in Bezeklik Caves are painted with a large Buddha surrounded by other figures, including Indians, Persians and Europeans. The quality of the murals varies, with some being artistically naive while others are masterpieces of religious art.
Bezeklik Caves, caved in the beginning of the Northern and Southern dynasties, have gone through the Tang, the Five Dynasties, Song, Yuan dynasty for seven centuries, and there has been a buddhist center of Gaochang. Huihe Gaochang is the most prosperous period of grottoes. In the 13th century, Gaochang royal family moves towards east to Gansu Yongchang. After Islam was introducing into Turpan, Buddhism was on the decline and Bezeklik Caves subsequently declined. At the beginning of 20 century, it was robbed and destroyed and mural character's eyes were all cut, Bezeklik Caves was even more severe. Though it suffered severe damage, but the rest Buddhist still gorgeous and elaborate, residual murals with rich contents are vivid and colorful. Bezeklik Caves is a large-scale cultural and art treasure.
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