Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress on SBS – In this award-winning docudrama series, the incredible rise and fall of the ancient Chinese fortress city Dun Huang, today a UN World Heritage site, is told on screen for the very first time.

For over a thousand years, Dun Huang’s frontier fortress controlled access to the lucrative Silk Road – a trading route stretching from China to Rome. This series reveals how key generals, warlords, Buddhist monks, and Empress Wu Zetian shaped Dun Huang’s turbulent history, propelling it from a desert oasis into a vital trading stronghold, and an important global centre for Buddhism and religious art.

Season One, Episode One: The Shining Beacon

2000 years ago, the desert fortress of Dun Huang controlled the Han Empire’s access to the lucrative Silk Road. Powerful nomadic Xiongnu tribes threaten this trade, and the wily Han general Ban Chao must use all his wisdom and experience to defeat both the Shanshan King and the mighty Kushan Empire.

Season One, Episode Two: Rise, Fall & Rebirth

In the early fifth century, the mighty Xiongnu warlord Juqu Mengxun breaks through Dun Huang’s walls. Mengxun and the Indian Buddhist monk Dharmakṣema begin constructing magnificent cave temples at Mogao. No woman has ever sat on the dragon throne…until Wu Zetian.

During the Tang Dynasty, a young concubine hatches a bold plan, and becomes China’s female emperor. A Taoist monk, Wang Yuanlu, finds ancient manuscripts sealed in a cave at Mogao. and soon the Mogao caves are reborn as one of the world’s most important archeological sites.

Dun Huang: Ancient Frontier Fortress on SBS and SBS on Demand – New Season – Sunday, 28 January at 8.30pm (2 Parts)

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