Dunhuang is a city (pop. 187,578 (2000)) in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu or 'City of Sands', "or Dukhan as the Turkis call it." It is best known for the nearby Dunhuang Caves.
It is situated in a rich oasis containing Crescent Lake and Mingsha Shan (literally "Echoing-Sand Mountain"). Mingsha Shan is so named for the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes, the singing sand phenomenon.
It commands a strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route and the main road leading from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and Southern Siberia, as well as controlling the entrance to the narrow Hexi Corridor which led straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an) and Luoyang