Friday, July 4, 2008

Xian Recap

Xian is an ancient city and one of the oldest in the world. The airplane magazine had a good quote which I am paraphrasing:

If you want to visit a 50 year old China city, visit Shenzhen.
If you want to visit a 500 year old China city, visit Beijing.
If you want to visit a 5,000 year old China city, visit Xian.

Today, it is a large, busy Chinese city but still has an old feel. Many of the historical monuments have been rebuilt including the city wall which dates back to the Ming dynasty. The wall is huge and has a surrounding moat. We rented bicycles and rode the perimeter on top of the wall, which took two hours.
On the corners of the wall, are two towers: bell tower and drum tower.
Here is a buddhist temple we visited: The famous terra cotta warriors are claimed to be “the eighth major miracle of the world” according to one website and “the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century” by another. The first emperor of China built the terra cotta army to protect his tomb in 246 BC, but it was only discovered in 1974. Over 7,000 statues have been revealed thus far, and they were all smashed. Conservationists are carefully restoring each one. It took more than 10 years with over 70,000 slaves to build the army and tomb. The warriors are slightly larger than life size. Each one is different and so detailed as to include strands of hair and creases in the hands. Originally, they were painted with vibrant colors, but the minerals in the paints have faded. Also, they each had real weapons and were arranged by different ranks just like an actual army. It is truly spectacular, and you leave convinced there is so much more still buried.

Here is a cool due in his old school glasses eating a street sandwich:There was excellent shopping along tree-lined strees:

We (mostly Erik) did very well with our Chinese. He (we) is able to communicate with cab drivers, waitresses, and bartering with shop keepers.

Great trip :-)


aggie94 said...

I *loved* Xian - it was easily my favorite of the dozen cities we visited in China. The contrast between ancient and modern is absolutely incredible. Glad you guys had a great time!

Miss B said...

Gorgeous! I can't wait to get there and see it all first hand. The soldiers look incredible.

Anonymous said...

Just wondeful pictures. I would have loved to ride the wall! Xian looks beautiful.