Longmen Caves, Henan Province

Close-up of a Buddha statue inside the Longmen Caves, China
Close-up of a Buddha statue inside the Longmen Caves, China


LOCATION In the province of Henan in north-central China, 8 miles (13 km) south of the city of Luoyang


Late 5th century to late 9th century


Jan: 34°F (2°C); Apr: 61°F (16°C); Jul: 82°F (28°C); Oct: 61°F (16°C)

Construction first began on the Longmen caves in AD 495, under the Northern Wei Dynasty, and spanned four Chinese dynasties and over 400 years.

The site consists of over 1,300 grottoes and 400 pagodas, and spreads for a half-a-mile (1 km) on both sides of the Yi River. Inside the caves are nearly 100,000 Buddhist statues of all shapes, styles, and sizes.

The smallest of these measures less than an inch and the largest, carved for the Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty, is nearly 60 ft (18 m) high. The caves are considered an icon of Buddhist art, and one of the greatest religious, historical, and cultural masterpieces of China.

Practical Information

Getting There and Around Luoyang is linked to some of China’s major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, by air, train, and road. Taxis can transport you from Luoyang to the caves.

When to Go Spring (Apr–May) and fall (Sep–Oct) have the best weather.

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