Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Mogao Grottoes cap the number of visitors on site

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 CNTV.com  1 July 2014
The Mogao Grottoes is a UNESCO world heritage site with a history of 1,600 years. The grottoes attract countless visitors from around the world every day, which puts quite a strain on the area. Now in order to protect this world famous landmark, tourists will now have to apply for permission to visit in advance through an online waitlist. But will that be enough to protect the grottoes? 
Every year, thousands of tourists from around the world visit the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes to see the murals and painted sculptures inside. More than 6,000 people visit the site every day during its peak season, and the number during the National Day Holiday last year was up to 20,000.
The Mogao Grottoes
The Mogao Grottoes
But the constant traffic through the grottoes has started to take its toll on the relics. The increasing number of visitors has caused the temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels inside the grottoes to rise. This has accelerated the pace at which the murals are fading.
In order to protect the murals, the Grottoes will implement a waitlist that goes into effect on August 1st. Visitors will have to apply for a spot on the list in advance though an online booking system or by calling a telephone hotline. The list will only allow 3,000 people into the grottoes each day.
"After some initial testing, we came to three thousand as a good number of people. We think this is be a good balance of the needs of the grottoes and bringing in visitors." said Fan Jinshi, Director, Dunhuang Research Academy.
In addition, Mogao Grottoes is launching a theater that will give viewers a virtual tour of the murals. A spherical screen will be set up to improve the tourists' digital experience. Here, they will be able to see the frescoes and sculptures inside, even sneaking a peek into caves that are not open to the public.
"Too much hard light will damage the murals, so there's no light in these caves. Visitors will only be able to enjoy certain murals under a flashlight. The spherical screen will help visitors observe the murals more clearly." said Fan Jinshi, Director, Dunhuang Research Academy.
The theater is currently going through trial runs and will be open to the public on August 1st. 
The Mogao Grottoes

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