adventures in the people's republic of china and beyond

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Xi'an sights, part 1

Xi'an has a history of over three thousand years and was the capital of China from ancient times until the end of the Tang dynasty, but you couldn't tell just by looking. With a population of over 8 million, it's one of the most developed cities in western China; all the same, compared to bigger cities, the pace is a bit slower, the traffic is lighter, and the city is a bit easier to get to know. There's plans for a subway, but for now the best way around the city is by bus - unlike bigger cities, you can usually get anywhere you want to go without needing to switch buses.

What's there to see around Xi'an?

Terracotta warriors(兵马俑) - the main reason everyone gets to Xi'an, it's an impressive archaeological site, but don't have too high expectations. As of yet, most of the soldiers lie in a big heap of broken pieces, just as discovered, and are awaiting the painstaking process of reconstruction. Still, it gives you a good sense of how much effort it took the excavate the site, and the heaps of statue pieces really make you appreciate each fully-reconstructed warrior.

To get there: east of the train station, there's a big parking lot with fancy air-conditioned buses. Almost every one of them is heading to the site; you can't miss it. Take the same buses back. The trip takes about one hour; along the way, there's also the Hua Qing hot springs(famous as the place where the imperial concubine Yang Guifei bathed) and the tombs of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China(which have not been excavated yet).

Tickets are a whopping 100 yuan each, although you can get half-price with a Chinese student ID(like at most places).

Chinese history textbook coverboy.

More to come later...

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Great photos! How tall are those soldiers -- average height?

I am delighted that you are having a good time and a good life experience.



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