Tag Archives: Xi’an

Xi’an Street at Night

Xi'an Street at Night

Late one evening, while my wife and I were exploring Xi’an, China, we wandered up to the enormous wall surrounding (and at one time protecting) the city. (Now the city of Xi’an dwarfs the wall.)

The wall stood several stories tall and, for a small fee, anyone can climb the wall and make their way along the top. My wife and I had a good time just strolling along and enjoying the quiet serenity of the wall, but also noticed the city wildly buzzing with life below us.

Our hotel room had a good view, but this wall was open-aired and a lot of fun to explore. For my wife and me, it was fantastic. We poked our heads through openings taking pictures of each other with the colored lights on the wall, and stood watching the world blur by below us.

For the life of me, I can’t remember how much it cost to climb the wall, but I know it wasn’t a whole lot. Either way, it was well worth the money.

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Bell Tower Traffic Circle

Our hotel in Xi’an, China was well-priced ($40US per night) and had an absolutely fantastic view of the city’s historical Bell Tower.

The tower was built in the 1300s and, as legend has it, was used to tame a dragon living in the nearby river to keep the city from enduring earthquakes. Several centuries later, the tower still stands tall and is open to tourists.

The bell tower also serves as a massive traffic circle.

From our hotel room, I could easily sit and watch traffic in the city. The Chinese (as a culture) have no sense of “personal space,” and that holds true for their driving, as well. Every few seconds, watching from the comfort and safety of our hotel room’s window, I was certain I’d see an impending death of a bus versus scooter. Miraculously, I didn’t see a single incident, which may be a strong statement to the Chinese driving style: Challenge other drivers right up to the edge of death, and only then maybe back off a bit.

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Fortifications of Xi’an

Built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD) to protect the city from intruders, a massive wall surrounds Xi’an, China. Today the city has expanded to, seemingly, dwarf the towering wall, but it still stands as a testament to how afraid of invasions the various kingdoms were throughout history. (There is a much more famous wall that goes through the entire country of China, much less just around a city.)

Today, tourists and locals can pay a small fee and wander around the wall surrounding Xi’an. A majority of it is lit up at night, giving an almost theme park look to it

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Bell Tower of Xi’an China

Built in 1384, you might think the Bell Tower of Xi’an China may be one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Not-so-much.

The often overshadowed historical site plays “second fiddle” to the Terra Cotta Army, also located in the city of Xi’an. Both locations are wonderfully preserved for tourists to visit, but only the Army is teeming with tourists.

The best part of The Bell Tower was it’s location from our hotel: This was the view taken out of our hotel room’s window on our first morning in China.

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Terracotta Army in Black and White

I didn’t get to a whole lot of postings last week because I was trying to get a jump on the 3,000 images from India, Bhutan, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates.

By Friday I had made it through Nepal and most of the Bhutan pictures, but this Friday I hope to make it through the pictures from the UAE and India.  The latter’s images will be a beast, because India was nearly overwhelming with things to take pictures of … not to mentioned the least of which was Holi Fest.

So, in an attempt to give myself a quick break from the recent trip, here is something slightly different for myself from China.

While in Xi’an, Alisha and I gave ourselves plenty of time to explore the Terracotta Army.  It’s amazing how much detail is in each of the different figures. It is said no two soldiers are the same, most likely because one man carved the appearance of another man, and the other man returned the favor.  Basically, “I’ll carve you if you carve me.”  So the various workers each made a point to include themselves in the army.

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Wall of Xi’an, China After Sunset

Wall of Xi’an, China After Sunset

My friend currently teaches English in the city of Xi’an, China. I give her tons of respect for doing something that so many of us say “I’d love to do that one day.”

In the fall of 2010, my wife and I went to China for a bit to explore and see what we could find.

One of the things we found was in Xi’an, they have the enormous wall surrounding the “old city.” Anyone can wander around on top of it for a small fee. The wall is amazing to see and experience, as the craftsmanship is extremely well done. It stands about 40 feet (12 meters) tall and has a watchtower every 400 feet (120 meters).

If you’d like to scope out my friend Joy’s adventures of an English teacher in China, click your way over to http://joysabroad.blogspot.com/ and follow along. My wife and I visited Xi’an before Joy moved there, so it’s extra-awesome knowing a lot of the places she writes about, but she does write in a way that you don’t have to visit to get an idea of what is going on.

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Terracotta Army

Heading to Asia for three weeks, our first stop was to Xi’an, China, home of the Terracotta Warriors.

There are over 8,000 soldiers uncovered, which is a pretty hefty amount.  When you add the 130 chariots and 520 horses, it’s an enormous historical find — literally.  All of that being said, my favorite part of the warriors is how they came to be.

The first emperor of China, Qin Chi Huang, commissioned them to be created so, upon his death, he could bring his army with him to the afterlife.  It brings the expression to mind “Heaven doesn’t want me and Hell is afraid I’ll take over.”

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