Longmen Grottoes is located between the east and west cliffs in Longmen Valley, 12.5 kilometers south from Luoyang City, Henan Province. As the east cliff sits opposite to the west cliff and Yishui River runs between them, the two cliffs look like a stone gate, hence the nameYijue
(the stone gate of Yishui River). After the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was generally referred to as Longmen (dragon gate).Situated at the communications center with picturesque scenery of green maintains and blue rivers and a pleasant climate, Longmen has been a scenic spot over the centuries. Moreover, ancient Chinese chose to cut grottoes in this place, taking advantage of the fine quality of the mountain rocks.
Longmen Grottoes, Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in Gansu Province and Datong Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi Province are called Three Great Art Galleries of Chinese Stone Carvings. Longmen Grottoes was first built in the reign of Emperor Xiaowen (471-477) in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and completed after about 400 years of carving. Longmen Grottoes spans about 1 kilometer from west to east. At present there are 1,300 grottoes, 2,345 niches, and 3,600 epigraphs and inscriptions, 50 Buddhist pagodas and 97,000 figures of Buddha. Among them, Bingyangzhong Cave, Fengxian Temple and Guyang Cave are the most representative.