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Oasis on China's ancient Silk Road now draws tourists not traders

Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images

A view of the Yueyaquan Crescent Lake, near the city of Dunhuang in China's northwestern Gansu province, on May 12, 2013.

Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images

Camels at rest in the desert near Dunhuang.

Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images

A man smokes a cigarette near the Yueyaquan Crescent Lake.

Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images

A Muslim food vendor cooks at his stall in Dunhuang.

Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images

A guide leads camels near the Yueyaquan Crescent Lake.

Formerly a Silk Road hub and center for trade between China and the West, the city of Dunhuang relies heavily on tourism and features a number of historic sites dating back to the Han Dynasty. The city in China's northwestern Gansu province has an arid climate and is surrounded by sand dunes, a result of increasing desertification.

-- Agence France-Presse