Monday, June 11, 2007

About Xi'An (or how 10 mins of googling can spoil your adventurer feeling but lead to a great vacation)

I am likely to go to China in the beginning of September, this year. To be more specific (and I must, for to say "I'm going to China!" is like saying "I'm going to visit Earth!" (while being a non-astronaut human)), I'm going to Xi'An. For some reason, Xi'An hosts many of the Chinese architectural and artistic wonders, including the terra-cotta soldiers (dated cca.200BC).

So here are some links of interest for Xi'An:


Xi'An, the city map:

Xi'An, some touristic attractions:

(a) From http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shaanxi/xian/

(b) From CNTO http://www.cnto.org/xian.asp

  • The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses listed as the Eighth Wonder of the World and consisting of more than 7,000 life-sized terra-cotta warriors and horses, were unearthed near the Tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang. The tomb is a rammed-soil mound reaching approximately 154 feet into the air. In 1974, three large pits of terra-cotta figures were found about 1 mile east of the mausoleum. The excavation revealed more than 7,000 pieces of pottery figurines, bronze chariots and horses and weapons. Three burial pits were found. The No. 1 pit contains a rectangular formation of chariots and army troops; the No. 2 pit holds a winding formation of chariots, army troops and cavalries; and the No. 3 pit designed to symbolize a command headquarters. The Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Tomb Figures of Soldiers and Horses is one of the 10 most famous places in China, and was announced as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.
  • The Huaqing Pool is situated at the foot of Lishan Mountain in the south and borders on the Wei River in the north, almost 21 miles east of Xi'an City. Being a villa palace and resort for many emperors and kings in ancient time, it embodies more than 3000 years of history. Emperor Qin Shihuang built a stone pool named the "Fairy's Spring." Both the Han Emperor Wudi and Sui Emperor Wendi enlarged it. During the Tang Dynasty, the Emperor Xuanzong ordered large-scale construction to transform the spring wells into pools housed in the walled palaces. These were called the "Huaqing Palace Pool" and "Spring Pool". The Tang Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Lady Yang often came here for pleasure.
  • The Greater Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652, the 3rd year of Yonghui of the Tang Emperor Gaozong, and is located in the Daci'en Temple complex in the southern suburb of Xi'an. A square pyramid of blue brick, it is 210 feet high with seven stories. The four stone doors in the base of the pagoda are exquisite engravings from the Tang Dynasty period.
  • The ruins, 6,000 years old, are from a matriarchal commune of the Yellow River region. Now if they are from 6000, 5000, or only 3000 BC, I believe this is irrelevant for the casual tourist.
  • The Stele Forest lies inside the southern city wall of Xi'an, where there are the largest numbers of steles from different dynasties. The construction of the Stele Forest began in 1087. It was maintained and expanded constantly during the dynasties of Jin, Yuan, Ming, Qing and the Minguo period, so the stored stones were increasing day after day. It stores almost 3000 epitaphs and steles from the Han Dynasty until now and 1089 of them have been exhibited. People admire the steles due to their uncanny resemblance to a forest and for their gathering together all kinds of styles of characters. It is a treasure house of Chinese calligraphy with a huge collection of steles inscribed by outstanding calligraphers from different dynasties.
  • The Mosque is located in Huajue Lane beside the Drum Tower; it is the best-known Islamic Mosque in Xi'an City. It was built in 742, the first year of Tian Bao of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong, and was restored in each of the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The distribution of pavilions, halls, towers and platforms in the mosque is compact and exquisite, blending the traditional architectural styles of Islam and Han. It is one of the four largest mosques in China.
  • Qianling Tomb, located 52 miles northwest of Xi'an, was the tomb of Li Zhi (628-683) Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, and his empress, who became the only woman emperor, Wu Zetian (624-705), in Chinese history after the death of her husband. It was built in 684 and completed over a period of 23 years. The huge stone statues arrayed in front of the tomb are well preserved. They demonstrate the remarkable achievements of sculptural arts during the prime of the Tang Dynasty. With smooth lines and gorgeous colors, they gracefully exhibit many ancient paintings. So I should have to go for 52 miles (80km)...
  • Other attractions: The Tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, Xi'an City Wall, Famen Temple, Shaanxi History Museum, the pit of the bronze chariots of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Mt. Huashan, the Lesser Wild Goose Pagoda, Maoling Mausoleum, Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor and Zhaoling Mausoleum.



(a) From http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shaanxi/xian/

Other tours:

City reviews:

  • http://community.travelchinaguide.com/d_review2.asp?i=316&d=93 -- good touristic review. Some pricing tips: The Da Qing Zhen Si ( The Great Mosque) should be visited as the alley leading to it will keep you entertained with bloodsport bargaining. Go for 20% of the price even if it is in an air-condition retail shop. I bought a beautiful calligraphy scrollfor $20 when the published price by the art teacher is $100! ( This actually was not good enough as I got a second for $16!). Don't forget the famous lan tian jade at Xian and the 20% price rule of course!
  • And a second review, from the same site: http://community.travelchinaguide.com/d_review2.asp?i=608&d=93

That's it! I must also have something to discover :-)


  • We plan on teaching at A&F in Xian come sept. Thanks for the sites. Have you firmed up your plans?

    By Blogger Chuck, at 10:47 AM  

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    By Blogger Mohsin, at 11:35 AM  

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