Xi'an
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More than 6000 years of civilization  have been found around the walled city of Xi'an, and many exhibits are available to the visitor - the Terra Cotta warriors are their premier find.
[Terra Cotta Warriors] [Other Xi'an Attractions] [Travel Agent Par Excellance]

Terra Cotta Warriors

This is a must-see in China. China Xian Terra Cotta warriors.jpg (21634 bytes) We reached it after an overnight train-ride from Beijing. We arrived early in the morning, and hitched a ride to China Xian Terra Cotta warriors 2.jpg (31859 bytes) the city with a group of nuclear physicists.   The Terra Cotta Warrior site itself is amazing.  2000 years ago a Qin dynasty emperor decreed that an army of pottery warriors be built and arrayed around his tomb to protect him in the after-life.  This army was discovered accidentally by a peasant in 1974, and about 10% of the site has been excavated to date. Three armory-sized buildings cover the excavation sites, where the clay statues, all broken over the years as the sites collapsed, are painstakingly reassembled. As an aside, the peasant today autographs your souvenir picture book with large Chinese characters and a flourish. 

Xi'an also has other attractions:

  • Bampo Neolithic Village - a village dating from 6000 years ago showing evidence of fire, pottery, houses, burial rites, and food storage schemes.

  • Forest of Steles Museum - China Xian stone stele.jpg (26643 bytes)a collection of steles (engraved stones with poems and history) dating to Confucius and providing a permanent history of the evolution of Chinese calligraphy.  Some are close to 2000 years old, and they were collected in one place as a means to preserve them.  Most of the stones are very regular and highly polished, showing a high degree of skill when they were made.  A local worker showed us how to make rice-paper rubbings with no damage to the stones.

  • Big Goose Pagoda - a set of 5China Xian temple interior.jpg (30596 bytes) Buddhist temples and a pagoda, the prettiest we have seen with magnificent carvings and beautiful grounds.  The faithful make offerings at the many incense burners in front of the temples, and a monk strikes a gong when a monetary offering is made.

  • Bell Tower, Drum Tower, and Great Mosque - interesting cultural spots around the city, plus a tour of the City Wall that surrounds this medieval city.

  • Local Opera Singers - Walking  around China Xian city wall.jpg (23249 bytes) the City Wall,  we stopped to listen to some locals practice their opera skills - and found we were expected to vote, with our pocketbooks, for the singers we liked.  China Xian Judi with singers.jpg (23022 bytes)We were the only Westerners in sight, and were treated as minor celebrities.  They also insisted on having their pictures taken with Judi, and the results were good. After donating a few Yuan to each of the singers (we did not want to play favorites) we waved farewell to our new-found friends, and marveled at how we could communicate with a few hand-signs and goodwill.

 

Travel Agent Par Excellance - While in Xi'an we met Mr. Ren Ming, with Golden Bridge Travel Agency at our hotel, the Bell Tower Hotel.  From then on he provided outstanding service, both by making hotel and train bookings, as well as negotiating over the phone with hotels when we arrived and had problems.

Next adventure, another train trip, this time to Wuhan and a river adventure.

 

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