Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves Buddhist reflection on the Silk Road

Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves Aksu Xinjiang
The Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves are witness to the history of the Kuqa region before the arrival of Han Chinese and the Islamization of Xinjiang. They contain impressive frescoes of Indo-European style. In addition to traditional representations of Buddha's life and the lives of the peoples of the region, folktales are also represented.

Chinese Influence

70 kilometers west of Kuqa, the Kizil Grottoes, also known as Thousand Buddha Caves are a veritable encyclopedia of the peoples of Central Asia at the beginning of our era. Built between the Third and Ninth century, it contained unique frescoes different from common ones. Indeed, at the time of their completion, the area was not yet entirely under Chinese influence. It was an Indo-European society that was installed in Kuqa. When we admire frescoes Kizil, one cannot help but notice the almost total absence of Chinese influence.

Destiny of Kizil

Like all Buddhist religious sites, the caves of Kizil have once experienced damage. With wars and changes of kingdoms, the caves have been damaged but the worst was of course the transition to Islam. All the statues of the site were destroyed by the Muslims who attributed them to idolatry. The caves were then abandoned until German archaeologists rediscovered the site and carried with them more than 470m² of frescoes! Today, only 80 caves of the remaining 230 caves have frescoes. To preserve at best, only a dozen are open to the public.

 

  • Best time to visit

    Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. 
  • Altitude

    1 200M Altitude Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves
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