Located 40 km to the southeast of Wuwei, the Tiantishan Grottoes are dug into a cliff bank over a river, the highest of them 60 m above the ground. They are in three rows that are linked up by plank paths.
In the Ming Dynasty there were still 26 caves. But half have since been destroyed by earthquakes and other natural disasters, leaving only 13 remaining. Ever since the site was opened up during the Northern Liang, cave digging and repair work continued throughout the Northern Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Western Xia, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. When a reservoir was built next to the site in 1958, the local government removed the murals and statues to the Gansu Provincial Museum so as to protect them.