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Yungang Grottoes

The information contained here are subject to change. Chinese History Digest is not responsible or liable if any changes should occur. You can also check the official website of the Yungang Grottoes for the latest information.

Opening Hours of the Yungang Caves Opening Hours

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
(April - October)
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(November - March)
Exhibition Hall: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Admission Ticket Prices Admission Fees

120 Yuan
(April - October)
100 Yuan
(November - March)
Free for children under 1.2 m

The Yungang Grottoes (a.k.a. Yungang Caves) are one of three major Buddhist caves complexes in China. The other two that are just as significant are Luoyang's Longmen Grottoes and Dunhuang's Mogao Caves. The Yungang Grottoes are located about 16 km west of the city of Datong (Shanxi province). At this amazing cave complex that was built in the 5th and 6th century during the period of the Six dynasties, visitors will find 254 caves carved into the limestone cliffs at the northern side of Wuzhou Mountain. Out of this total number of caves, 45 are classified as major grottoes and the remaining 209 as secondary caves. In addition to the caves, there are also about 1,100 niches at the site. Both caves and niches together contain about 51,000 statues. Whereas the smallest of these statues is only 2 cm tall, the biggest one measures 17 meters.

The caves and grottoes at this UNESCO world heritage site that stretches for about 1 km from east to west are dispersed in three distinct groups: an eastern, middle and western group. The eastern group of caves is mainly built in the style of pagodas and the caves in the western group are either small or mid-sized with niches. The caves in the middle of the complex contain Buddha statues at their center and are made up of front and back chambers. The walls and ceilings of the middle caves are furthermore carved with sculptures.

The five caves 16 - 20 in the eastern part of the complex are the oldest. They were carved under the leadership of a monk named Tan Yao between 453 AD and 465 AD at a time when Buddhism had begun to spread along the Silk Route into China. The Northern Wei dynasty was one of the first to accept Buddhism as their state religion and Datong (then named Pingcheng) was their capital. All five of these early grottoes are very similar in their layout and design and each contains a Buddha statue with the features of one of the five emperors Taizu, Taizong, Shizu, Gaozong and Gaozu.

The group of middle caves includes the caves 1, 2, 12, 13, the unfinished cave 3 and the twin caves 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10. All these caves were built during a second construction phase from 471 AD onwards until the imperial court of the Northern Wei dynasty moved to their new capital of Luoyang in 494 AD. Most of the middle caves are made up of a front and back room. The walls and ceilings of the middle caves are adorned with sculptures and a Buddhist statue stands in their center. The largest of all the caves at the Yungang Grottoes - cave No. 6 - is 20 meters tall and features a central pillar that is decorated with Buddhist statues and designs. The east, south and west wall of the cave also features Buddhist designs such as the story of Sakyamuni that is told on 33 embossed panels.

Since the imperial court no longer financed the construction of additional caves at the site of the Yungang Grottoes after its move to Luoyang, the rest of the caves had to be financed by private donors. The late caves and niches that were constructed in the western part of the complex between 494 AD and 525 AD are therefore either small or of medium size. The caves 4, 11, 14 and 15 are the most noteworthy among this final group of caves.

view of the entrance to the Yungang Grottoes near Datong
view of the entrance to the Yungang Grottoes near Datong

Getting there and nearby Hotels

How to get there?

Yungang Grottoes
about 16 km west of Datong
Nanjiao district
Datong, Shanxi province

Telephone Number +86 352 320 6818

nearest airport Datong Yungang Airport (DAT)

nearest railway stations Datong Railway Station

public bus stop Take bus line 4 from the Datong Railway Station to the Xin Kai Li Stop. From there, take bus line 3 directly to the Yungang Caves.

nearby Hotels Hotels

The hotels underneath are listed by their increasing distance from the Yungang Caves:

1. Hiyi Hotel
No.1 Pingquan Road, Mining Bureau
5.9 miles away

2. Jinjiang Inn Datong Xihuan Road
No.2 Building 21 Chenxin Huayuan, Xihuan Road
8.0 miles away

3. Jinjiang Inn Datong Pingchengqiao
Building 1 Longyuan Community, Pingcheng Street
8.2 miles away

4. 7 Days Inn Datong Hualin Xintiandi
At the Intersection of Weidu Avenue and Qingyuan Street, 6F Hualin Xintiandi Comprehensive Building
8.2 miles away

5. GreenTree Inn Datong Yundingyayuan Express Hotel
Building A Yunding Yayuan, Weidu Avenue
8.3 miles away

6. GreenTree Inn Datong Xiangyang West Street
50m South from the Crossing of Xiangyang West Street and Yunzhong Road
8.4 miles away

7. 7 Days Inn Datong Railway Station
Zhanbei Street
8.8 miles away

8. Taijia Hotel
No.5 Zhanbei Street
8.8 miles away

9. Yunzhong Courtyard
Courtyard No.1 West of Chunyanggong, Gulou West Street
8.8 miles away

10. Yuelong Hotel
No.5 Caochangcheng Street
8.9 miles away

11. Garden Hotel
No.59 Danan Street
9.0 miles away

12. Holiday Inn Datong City Centre
No.37 Yingbin Street
9.3 miles away

13. Weidu International Hotel
No.16 Yingbin Street
9.3 miles away