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October 14, 2009

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Visitors' center for Mogao Grottoes

A VISITORS' center costing 260 million yuan (US$38.1 million) will be built at China's ancient Mogao Grottoes to help conserve statues and frescoes in the historic caves in Dunhuang City, northwestern China's Gansu Province.

Dunhuang Academy, the research and conservation body that cares for the 1,000-year-old grottoes, said the center will replicate the experience of visiting the Buddhist temples and use digital media to create a virtual tour, China News Service reported yesterday.

That will cut the time visitors need to spend touring the grottoes, the academy said.

Up to 5,300 visitors a day during the recent National Day holiday have helped contribute to changes in the caves' microclimate, leading to serious deterioration of some murals.

The grottoes were listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1987.


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