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Old November 16th, 2007, 07:28 PM   #1
hkskyline
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China's Mogao Grottoes Under Threat From Advancing Desert

China grottoes face threat of desertification




Source : http://www.pbase.com/nununo/dunhuang

BEIJING, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Dunhuang, a small city in Gansu province near the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and famous for its Mogao grottoes, is threatened by receding rivers making way for an expanding desert, state media warned on Tuesday.

The centuries-old Mogao grottoes, also known as Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, house ancient cave-temple architecture, mural paintings, and manuscripts dating back between the 5th and 14th centuries.

"The Shule River, which runs through the Dunhuang oasis, has so many dams on it that its waters are shrinking," Wang Jiru, director of the Gansu Desert Control Institute, was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

The institute recently discovered the sixth largest desert in China, covering 20,000 sq km which is growing at a rate of 1-4 metres every year, just 50 km east of the grottoes.

"(The grottoes) are being damaged by sand blown from the desert and in the future could be buried by the drifting sands," said Wang.

The Dunhuang oasis is turning into sand because there is less water in the Shule river. The problem has been compounded by agriculture projects and development such as 10,000 wells that have been dug up since the 1960s.

China has acknowledged desertification as the main environmental challenge holding back sustainable development, and is moving to control the country's spreading deserts, which already cover a fifth of its land.

Beijing has pledged to hold a sandstorm-free Olympics in 2008 and has launched new campaigns to plant more trees in a bid to hold back the deserts' advance.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #2
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08:30, February 14, 2008
China plans huge investment to protect Mogao Grottoes

China has approved a 36-million-U.S. dollar protection scheme for the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, a listed World Heritage Site in the northwest Gansu Province.

The plan, approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, includes the construction of a digital display hall that can hold 800 visitors and facilities for consolidation, erosion prevention, security and visitor services, the Gansu Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau said.

Around 70 percent of the investment will come from the central government and the rest from the province.

The 1,600-year-old Mogao Grottoes boast more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of frescoes. The site received World Heritage designation in 1987.

"The completion of the service facilities is expected to help reduce the stay time of visitors inside the grottoes," said Wang Xudong, vice president of the Dunhuang Academy, the sole institute authorized to protect, research and manage the Dunhuang grotto treasures.

Vapor and carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors can erode the frescoes and sculptures, according to experts.

The number of domestic and overseas tourists to the Dunhuang grottoes has reached 500,000 annually and continues to rise.

"The small grottoes are often packed with visitors, which poses a severe threat to the preservation of the frescoes and sculptures inside," Wang said.

Source: Xinhua
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Old February 20th, 2008, 05:54 AM   #3
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260m yuan relief project at hand for famed grottoes
14 February 2008
South China Morning Post

The go-ahead has been given for a 260 million yuan plan to protect the fragile, Unesco-listed Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang , Gansu province , from degradation.

State media reported yesterday that the National Development and Reform Commission had approved a conservation project proposed by the cultural relics bureau in the northwestern province that would create digital displays of the frescoes, protect the site from sandstorms, step up security and rebuild a walkway along the cliffs.

Dunhuang was a trade hub on the Silk Road more than 1,000 years ago during the Sui and Tang dynasties and also became an important religious centre.

Most of the funding for the scheme would be spent on a computer project that caretakers hoped would ease some of the pressure on the frescoes, Xinhua reported.

Thousands of frescoes and Buddhist statues are to be digitally scanned to create a virtual tour for visitors to see before they enter the grottoes, cutting the time they spend inside the real grottoes. Carbon dioxide and moisture from visitors damages the delicate dyed plaster of the murals and statues.

Xinhua quoted officials from the Dunhuang Academy, a research centre based in the city, saying that several key technological issues relating to the digital displays had been resolved and the project would give visitors a better insight into the history, culture and art of the Mogao Grottoes than they could gain from using flashlights and entering them.

They said similar projects would be launched for other sites if the Mogao project succeeded.

The UN cultural body added the Mogao Grottoes to its world heritage list in 1987.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #4
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/firstlightimagi...mogao_grottoes





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Old February 8th, 2011, 02:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for news and pics!
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