Yungang Caves

Yungang Caves Picasa Photo Album
After visiting Pingyao and stopping at the Qiao Family House on the way to Datong, we only spent one day in Datong. Datong itself is nothing special; it's a pretty dull, boring, polluted city (the pollution is particularly bad because it's a major coal producer in China). But there are a couple of really amazing sites just outside of Datong. We saw both of these the next day.

The first was the Yungang Caves. These caves contain a ton of Buddhist sculptures; Lonely Planet says the caves have over 50,000 statues. Work began on the caves around 460 AD, and took approximately 40,000 workers 64 years to complete (at least, that's what our tour guide told us). The caves were absolutely amazing. Words don't do them justice, so I'll skip straight to the pictures:

Buddha #1.

Some of the caves had tons of intricately carved work all around the cave, like this. Unfortunately, it was really hard to get good pictures because of the lighting.

The caves are spread across this cliff face.

Unfortunately, the caves have been vandalized a few times. Three sculptures were stolen from this carving.

This is the most well-preserved statue at the caves.

The people in the background will you give you some idea of the sheer size of this thing.

We visited the Hanging Monastery next.
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Husband and father, lapsed musician, software engineer at Square, open source developer, world traveler and Christian.