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Crescent Spring — the First Spring in the Desert

Known to the world as "the First Spring in the Desert", the Crescent Spring is situated at the foot of Mingsha Mountain and is surrounded by sand dunes. Seen from afar, the Crescent Spring resembles a crescent moon, hence its name. 

The legend goes that the Seven Star Grasses, with specialized properties for curing difficult and complicated diseases,grow in the Crescent Spring, and those who eat them will live forever, therefore, the Crescent Spring is also called Medicinal Spring.

Highlights of the Crescent Spring

reed bushesReed bushes along the spring

The Crescent Spring is 100 meters (33 feet) long from north to south and 25 meters (82 feet) wide from east to west, becoming deeper from the west to the east and being five meters deep at its deepest part.

Just like a crescent moon, the Crescent Spring has nestled in the vast desert for thousands of years; its water is very clear and sweet, and it still ripples in the breeze even though it is exposed to stormy sands. 

Near the Crescent Spring are reed bushes, whose reflections wave in the spring as the wind blows. Around the Crescent Spring are the peaks of the Mingsha Mountain, which make a sound on a sunny day as the wind blows. 

sunsetSunset at the Crescent Spring

Chinese scientists have carried out a study as to the cause of the singing sand for years and they believe that it is a phenomenon of resonance. The Crescent Moon Spring with its lush vegetation is sustained by spring water and is a true miniature oasis in a desert.

As the tourism industry has developed in Dunhuang, the local government has taken various kinds of measures to protect the Crescent Spring Scenic Area and, at the same time, a number of desert entertaining programs such as sand therapy, sand sliding, para sailing and riding camels have been developed, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Crescent Spring in History

The Crescent Spring has long become a sightseeing spot since the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD). 

Crescent SpringCrescent Spring

According to legends, Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD) obtained a heavenly horse near Wowa Pond (presently the Crescent Spring) and ordered a stele to be built in memory of the event at the very site of Wowa Pond, which is exactly the one we see today, and the inscriptions on the stele read "Wowa Pond of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220)".

In the Tang Dynasty(618-907), rows of simple and unsophisticated buildings in a neat order were distributed to the south of the Crescent Spring, including the Palace of the Heavenly Queen Mother, the Palace of the Dragon King, the Palace of Bodhisattva, the Cave of the Medicine King and the Platform of the Thunder God, from east to west.Hundreds of colored statues and paintings were enshrined in the major palaces.  

Visit Crescent Spring with Us

Crescent Spring

If you are interested in planning a trip to Dunhuang to visit the Crescent Spring, you are suggested to visit the Mingsha Sand Dune together. We can help you arrange your tour according to your interests and requirements. See the popular tour below for inspiration: