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Getty Institute helps save China's Mogao Grottoes from tourism's impact
Getty Institute helps save China's Mogao Grottoes from tourism's impact

Hewn by hand out of a cliff face in the Gobi Desert starting about 1,700 years ago, China's most spectacular cache of Buddhist caves has endured countless assaults over the centuries — earthquakes and floods, plundering foreign explorers and even Russian soldiers, who billeted here in the 1920s on the run from the Bolsheviks and filled their beautifully painted quarters with smoky cooking fires. Quite miraculously, nearly 500 caves at Mogao Grottoes decorated by merit-seeking monks, merchants and mandarins between the 4th and 14th centuries have survived until the modern era. But the 21st century has brought a new source of peril to this once-remote natural trove of Silk Road...

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