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Explore Dunhuang ⑧ | Night markets, unique agriculture and sci-fi photothermal power station

Editor’s Note: The Sixth Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo was held in Dunhuang, Northwest China’s Gansu Province, from September 6 to 7, 2023. As a key pass along the ancient Silk Road, Dunhuang is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mogao Grottoes, the Mingsha Mountain, and Crescent Spring Scenic Spot, and so on. Starting from September 4, GDToday will bring you an in-depth exploration of the city of Dunhuang.

In addition to the World Heritage Site Mogao Grottoes and other amazing destinations, Dunhuang also boasts a special cultural vibe featuring night markets, unique sightseeing agriculture and a photothermal power generation demonstration power station that are worth experiencing and knowing. Read on to find out more about them. 

Shazhou Night Market 

Located on East Yangguan Road, Shazhou Night Market is the biggest and one of the most interesting night markets in Dunhuang. With its distinctive local characteristics and rich minority customs, it is hailed as the “nightlife landscape” of Dunhuang.  

The market has five areas, namely, Local Delicacies, Handicrafts, Tea Area, Agricultural Products, and Local Specialty. At the entrance lies the Handicrafts area, over 100 stalls along the street catch visitors' attention as soon as you walk in, selling Dunhuang unique crystal stone glasses and jewelry, jade white camel, Dunhuang silk carpet, travel books, and so on. Walking inside, foodies can’t miss the Dunhuang Niang Pi, Yellow Noodle, lamb skewers, and so on at the toothsome Local Delicacies area. In terms of travel gifts for friends, the Agricultural Products and Local Specialty areas offer a prime choice, that is, the sweet fruits, including Li Guang Apricot, Ming Shan Jujube, Yellow River Honeydew Melon, etc. After enjoyable meals and shopping, visitors can taste the local tea and take a rest in the Tea Area.

Address: East Yangguan Road, Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu (甘肃酒泉敦煌市阳关东路)

Dunhuang Grapes

Dunhuang is not only a famous tourist city with a profound history but also a land of prime fruits with a great reputation throughout the ages. Its fruits were offered to the emperors as tribute as early as the Han Dynasty. Among them, travelers and foodies absolutely can’t miss the grapes. 

Located at 40 degrees north, which is internationally recognized as the golden belt of viticulture, Dunhuang is one of the top 20 cities famous for grapes in China. With large temperature differences between day and night and abundant sunshine, Dunhuang’s grapes are of high quality and have high sugar content, gaining popularity across the country. Annually, Dunhuang’s 68,000 mu of grapes produce 127,000 tons of grapes. The high-quality fruit industry has become a driving force for the local economy, lifting local farmers out of poverty. 

In order to further promote the development and upgrading of the local fruit industry, Dunhuang has introduced over 30 varieties of grapes, carried out experiments, and ultimately found 10 suitable varieties in recent years. Besides, 6 demonstration sites of new varieties were built, covering an area of 1,200 mu.

Address: Longle Village, Yangguan Town, Dunhuang City (敦煌市阳关镇龙勒村)

The 100-megawatt molten salt tower solar thermal power plant

Dunhuang has a unique advantage in developing a new energy industry because the vast Gobi Desert is suitable for building new energy power stations. About 20 kilometers west of Dunhuang City, China's first 100-megawatt-class molten salt tower thermal power station, also called the "super mirror power plant", works by using 12,000 mirrors that concentrate the sunlight onto a receiver at the top of the 260-meter-high solar tower. With a total reflection area of the mirror field of 1.4 million square meters, the plant generates 390 million kWh of power annually, which can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 350,000 metric tons per year. It is the country's largest power station of its kind, with the highest endothermic tower, the largest heat storage tank, and 24-hour continuous power generation.

Solar photovoltaic power generation is considered to have the potential to become a baseload power. Based on its grid infrastructure, Dunhuang’s 100-megawatt-class molten salt tower thermal power station continues to deliver new energy to all parts of China. 

Address: Dunhuang Photoelectric Industrial Park (甘肃敦煌光电产业园区)

Reporter: Monica, Alice, Lina (intern)

Poster: Mia

Video: Deng Yingheng

Editor: Olivia, Steven, Monica, Jerry

Photo provided to GDToday

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