Silk Road Angel Tours

Dunhuang of China.

header photo

The Singing Sand Hills and the Crescent Moon Spring


    As you know ,Shifting sand and a clear spring are two natural sights which are hardly ever found together at the same place .However ,at Dunhuang ,unusual sand hills and a beautiful spring have combined to set a new style in lovely scenes for sightseers .Local and foreign tourists alike are fascinated by it .

  The entire dune is made up  of accumulated sand ,and is more than forty kilometers long from east to west and twenty kilometers wide from north to south ,At its highest point ,it reaches five hundred and sixty meters ,The peaks fall away steeply ,The ridges are sharp like knife edges and on the sand hills there are patterns in the sand like waves on water .To take off your shoes and socks and clamber up the sand hill barefoot ,the fine sand falling away under your tread ,each step making huge deep footprints ,is a great diversion .The local people say  that after you have stood on the peak ,if everyone slides back down from the top together ,the dislodged sand flling down after them produces a rumbling sound .According to the historical records on a clear sunny day ,even  when the wind has stopped and the sand is still, the sound of a traditional string and pipe orchestra can be heard coming from the sand hills .this has become one of Dunhuang’s eight famous scenes” sand dunes, clear tunes ”.Tradition has it that this place was an ancient battleground ,and that there was a general who led his troops out on campaign and set up came here with several tens of thousands of horses and men. A fierce wind swept through, and the whole army was buried under the yellow sands ,From that time on .sometimes the sound of drums and bugles could be heard ,and it said that the hapless spirits refused to leave but would haunt the place ,tragic in the evil wind ,soaring in the relentless sands ,lamenting like thunder ,never resting down through the ages .And so people called the place the Singing Sand hills ,and also the Spirit Sand Hills .

When you climb to the top of  the dunes and look down ,you see that there encircled on all sides by the sand hills ,is a clear spring like a crescent moon ,two hundred meters long and forty meters wide ,with its surface shaped exactly like a new moon .This is the Crescent Moon Spring .

“The Dunhuang County Annals”record: The Crescent Moon Spring “throughout history ancient and recent, the sands have borne down on it but don’t fill it up”, and “although it meets with fierce winds, the spring is not covered over by the sand.” In fact, the reason the sand can never bury the spring is due to the spring being surrounded on all four sides by sand dunes. The topography is higher to the north and south and lower to the east and west, and the water mostly flows in at the western pass and out at the eastern pass. The wind turns along the line of the hills and enters from the south –east pass. then it rises whirling rapidly, carrying the fine sand with it up to the top of the sand dunes. It finally leaves through the north –west pass. This  prevailing wind , year in and year out, has created the situation of the lifting sands and the moon-shaped spring.

If you go down beside the spring and look, the water weeds within the spring grow thickly, the water is so clear that you can see the bottom, and spring takes on a sky blue color. Spring water ripples swirl blue waves rise and fall, after long rains it doesn’t spill. In droughts it doesn’t trickle, the scenery is extremely fine. Tradition has it that in the spring there are iron-backed fish and a seven star weed which when eaten confer longevity. Because of this , the local people call the Crescent Moon Spring—the Medicine Spring