The Mogao Caves are also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and form a system of 492 temples 25 km southeast of the center of Dunhuang. The caves are near an oasis that was strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.
While the Mogao Caves are about 1,000 km northwest of Lanzhou and not technically anywhere near the city, there are several daily non-stop flights between Lanzhou and Dunhuang. They are well worth the detour.
They were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and represent a fascinating and important part of China's Buddhist history.