Dunhuang, China, April 18 2012 – The Journey of Discovery has finally arrived in Dunhuang, China and the One Millionth Discovery expedition met up with the China Exploration & Research Society (CERS), one of Land Rover’s humanitarian and conservation partners.
Dunhuang is a city in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road, containing the Crescent Lake and Mingsha Shan – the name for the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes aka ‘the singing sand phenomenon’. In ancient times, Dunhuang was actually the centre of trade between China and its western neighbours.
Led by CERS, the expedition crew drew up near the common boundary of Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang, the historical city Dunhuang containing the world-famous Mogao Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Together, they explored the Mogao Caves – a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, 25km (15.5miles) from downtown Dunhuang on the eastern slope of Mingsha Shan. Commonly known as the ‘Caves of a Thousand Buddhas’, the statues are stacked five stories high, some reaching up to 50 metres and approximately 735 caves.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director said: “We are delighted that CERS is able to join the One Millionth Discovery expedition here in Dunhuang, which started some 41 days ago in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
“This impressive replication of the original and first 1950’s overland journey fully embodies the energy and spirit of real life adventurers. CERS possess the same free spirit for cultural and conservation preservation, as well as geographic discoveries using their Land Rovers – a truly remarkable ambassador.”
Founder of CERS and renowned explorer Wong How Man said: “Dunhuang has been one of our centres since 1994, with the CERS team visiting twice in the last couple of years. This encompassed projects in the Qilian Mountains and the Wild Yak some 150km to its north, as well as the Arjin Mountain Nature Reserve in Xinjiang.
“Our fleet of nine Land Rovers – a mixture of Defender and Discovery vehicles – has been absolutely invaluable to this kind of conservation preservation work, in such remote and terrain-challenged areas of China.
“We also have multiple projects in nearby Xinjiang including the Asiatic Beaver research and the Tibetan Antelope project, to both the north and south respectively, of the One Millionth Expedition route.
“I have also written an article about Dunhuang and nearby Grotto caves for Readers and Architectural Digest, as well as Asia Magazine, shortly after my first visit in 1979. The Silk Road route has been CERS’ key stomping ground on studies of Islam in China, basis to a book published in London (2011).”
The One Millionth Discovery expedition team also brought a piece of Birmingham with them – and presented to CERS Founder Wong How Man – a scaled reproduction of the CERS Discovery artwork created by PopBangColour’s Ian Cook from the ‘Land Rover In Action Exhibition’ event at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) last year.
Land Rover recently celebrated eight years of partnership with China’s ‘greatest living explorer’ and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) – Wong How Man. He has expanded his exploration work to conservation of some of China’s most endangered natural and cultural heritage. Wong famously led CERS expeditions that pinpointed the sources of the Yangtze (2005), the Mekong (2007) and the Yellow River (2008).