Crescent Lake locates about 6 kilometers south of Dunhuang city with a length of nearly 100 meters from south to north and a width of 25 meters from east to west. It was named Yueyaquan in the Qing Dynasty. Mildred Cable & Francesca French visited the lake during their travels in the region and recorded their impressions in their book “The Gobi Desert”.
Being surrounded by the Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent lake can be called a natural wonder in the Gobi Desert. Looking from high point, the lake looks just like a crescent fallen down into this desert. Though the Crescent lake lies among sand dunes for thousands of years and been attacked by sand storm now and then, the lake still gurgles clear, and still remains worthy as the first spring in the desert.
But in the recent 40 years, the depth of the lake continually declined. In the early 1990s, its area had shrunk to only 1.37 acres (5,500 m2) with an average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then.
There is a group of ancient Chinese styled buildings stands on the south bank of the lake. From the east to west there are the Queen’s Palace, Temple of Dragon King, Temple of Bodhisattva, Cave of Medicine Master, etc, totally account to about 100 rooms.
A visit to Crescent lake will treat tourists with not only the rare natural and cultural views but also they will experience some funny dessert games, such as riding camels and ‘dune surfing’ sand sliding.