Matisi Temples built in the mountains 

The next stop was Zhangye (张掖). We went there for 3 reasons: the Matisi Temples, the rainbow rocks and the Pinshan Hu Canyon.

So the first stops was the Matisi Temples: carved into the cliffs sides in the foothills of the Grand Qilian mountains, the vulnerable Buddhist grottoes of matisi are a great visit during the trip on the silk road. Matisi translates as horse hoof monastery, a reference to when a heavenly horse left a hoof imprint in a grotto. Between the 5th and 14th centuries a series of caves were almost as miraculously built in sheer sandstone offset and filled with carvings, themes and meditation rooms. The temples are 65km north of Zhangye and spread over many sections. We booked a tour via the hostel and were able to see several temples in one day trip. We shared a minibus with some Chinese, one of them was Allen, another one was Xiao Liu, we soon became friends and had a great time together! Allen is a translator and engineer and he already built 2 rollercoasters in Xiamen, where I study, so we had enough to discuss about!

The first temple that we visited was a typical Tibetan temple.

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Allen explained to us, that turning the golden wheels will bring good luck and happiness in your life and running one circle around the temple while turning the wheels clockwise will certainly be good for you.

So we gave it a try:

 

Next we walked by feet to the big temples, built spectacularly into the steep mountains. The walk there was already breathtaking:

These Tibetan prayers are written on flags. The characters look like from another world for me:


Here you can see the three Germans plus Allen, our Chinese friend.

Horse riding is also a very popular activity at that scenic spot:

This is a very typical Tibetan tent, very colorful. I can’t quite figure out the purpose of it, please feel free to comment below in order to let us know, I’d be very happy!

The next stop wäre the rainbow rocks, also not far from Zhangye. 

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