What is Flaming Mountain?
In ancient times, the merchant traders traversing the Silk Route in southeast Asia avoided the mountains by stopping at oasis towns, such as Gaochang, built on the desert's rim at the foot of the Flaming Mountains and near an important mountain pass. Oasis towns became respite stops for traveling merchant traders. Buddhist missionaries often accompanied traders on busy international trade routes. During this time trade boomed on the Silk Route. Buddhist monasteries and temples were built in the busy trading centers and in nearby remote mountain spots.
The Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves site lies in a gorge under the cliffs of the Flaming Mountains near the pass by Gaochang. It is a complex of seventy Buddhist cave grottoes dating from the 5th to the 9th centuries CE, many with thousands of murals of Buddha.