Tianshui: Maiji Shan
September 2, 2016
Ancient trade routes were much more than just a highway for the exchange of materials and goods from one distant place to another. Ideas and culture also traveled with ships and camels and horses. The Silk Road is certainly a prime example of the exchange and dissemination of culture.
Buddhism flowered in South Asia and eventually “traveled” to Central Asia and China. Here in Gansu Province, the Maijishan Grotto Complex is one of several grotto sites lying on the trade routes between northwest China and Central Asia.
Maijishan construction began in the Later Qin Era (384-417 CE). The rock cut architecture contains more than 7200 Buddhist sculptures and 100 square meters of murals.
“I am impressed,” says my guide. He was surprised that I climbed all the stairways from the ground level up the mountain where the many sculptures lie nestled in the hillside caves.
Well, I was determined! I read about this site and .guidebooks have full-page photographs. There was no way I would miss the site or the climb.
Maijishan is truly impressive.
My journey across the Silk Road will continue, through the mountains and across the desert. But no camel caravan for me.
The Bullet Train awaits.