Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake
Located 5 km (about three miles) south of Dunhuang City, the Echoing-Sand Mountain, for many Chinese well known as Mingsha Mountain, is celebrated for the sound of the moving sand. In 1994 it was acclaimed as the national key scenic spot. Together with the Crescent Springand the Mogao Caves, the Echoing-Sand Mountain is most popular sitein Dunhuang travel.
You may wonder why the sand makes these different sounds. There is a legend that says how, in ancient times, a general with many soldiers came here to fight in a war with their enemies. While they were engaged in a fierce battle, a great gust of wind buried all the warriors in the sand and the sand mountain was formed. As the battle was at its height, the soldiers continued to fight beneath the sand. Thus, the sound you hear is said to be the roar of the soldiers. However, the real cause is the friction and static created as the wind shifts the sand or you slip down the mountainside.
Encircled by the mountain, there is Crescent Lake so called because of its shape. The water in the lake is so pure and sweet that it looks like an emerald set in the sand. Many of the visitors who have made their way down the mountain like to drink from the lake. According to historical record, the lake has been in existence for hundreds of years without ever being buried by the sand; it is really a geological wonder.
There is also a story about the lake. In the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC- 24), a general called Li Guang, together with a group of soldiers, captured a powerful and swift horse from Dawan, a western state of China at that time. When passing the Echoing-Sand Mountain upon their return, the soldiers became too thirsty to continue their march. General Li drew his sword and thrust it into the side of the mountain causing water to spring forth and so formed the lake.
Today, the mountain is listed as a key national scenic spot. It is possible to climb it on foot or, if you prefer, on the back of a camel. It is also possible to take a sand bath treatment. Your visit is complete as you appreciate the splendid environment consisting of golden sand, a wondrous mountain, a tranquil lake and a beautiful sunset.