visitor center

The Dunhuang Academy is building a new state-of-the-art Visitor Center to enhance understanding of the historic site through multimedia exhibits that illuminate Dunhuang’s history at the heart of the Silk Road, and its pivotal role as a cultural and religious crossroads. Construction began in March 2010.


The bold design and innovative functionality are unlike anything China’s museum world has seen. The 10,000 square meter structure takes inspiration from the undulating dunes and subtle colors of the surrounding desert, and from Mogao itself. Constructed of reinforced concrete with sandstone surfaces suggestive of the ancient grottoes, and including two domed auditoriums for digital projection, the Visitor Center will become an iconic image of Dunhuang and a key to safeguarding the grottoes for future generations.

Cui Kai, principal of the China Architecture Design and Research Group, is lead architect for the new Visitor Center, which will be located near Dunhuang’s airport and railroad station in a conscious effort to reduce the intrusive impact of tourism on the Mogao site some 15 km away.