Step back in history two thousand years, when the Silk Road was first established linking traders, pilgrims, soldiers, and monks alike from Europe to Asia, and you’ll find Dunhuang at the crossroads of the Northern and Southern route. This ancient Chinese city, an oasis in the middle of the desert, became a major stop along the famous route, and grew to hold immense importance due to its strategic position. The sight of Dunhuang’s walls was known to bring huge smiles of relief to weary caravans of travelers who were in need of rest and refueling, and the city prospered greatly from the massive inflow of traffic. Dunhuang’s importance grew with age, and became an important religious destination, with scriptures and pilgrims flowing across its grounds from West to East and back again. Eventually, Dunhuang lost its strategic importance, as Chinese trade migrated to the Southern sea routes, and the city is now mainly a tourist destination.

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