Arriving early on Saturday morning, the Mogao information center showed us a documentary and gave a virtual tour of the caves. Dunhuang, where we are staying, was once an oasis town that was part of the Silk Road. Roughly 30 minutes away by bus, the Mogao grottoes consist of 735 individual caves. We got to see eight of them, each from a different era, unique in their own way.

Our guide introduced himself as Michael and warned us that no photos were allowed to be taken inside the caves and that each had a time limit, so that we did not oxidize the paint even further.

The things that we enjoyed the most were the little details that Michael pointed out to us. He answered all of our questions about Buddhism, and explained how some caves have up to seven layers of decorated wall with colors that have changed throughout the ages. His stories were filled with interesting facts, giving not only his own opinions, but also those of the government and different historians.

Check out some of our photos from the caves!