A Travellerspoint blog

Tomb of Han Yang Ling

Off the beaten path and an overlooked treasure.

overcast 85 °F

We made one last stop to a mausoleum of a Han dynasty emperor before we were dropped at the airport. The museum is unique due to the way you can view the pits and artifacts. The pits are topped with glass and we were able to walk over them and look down at the artifacts. The pits were discovered in 1997 and the museum has only been open to the public since 2007. Our guide wondered how we had even found out about the museum. She said that in the past 12 years she has toured the Terracotta Warriors Museum thousands of times, but has only toured this museum a handful of times. Thank you, Lonely Planet for the recommendation! It was one of the least crowded places we visited in all of China and the experience was very unique.
There are a total of 81 pits and inside of them are terracotta soldiers, terracotta animals, ceramic jars, chariots, and all of the goods that an emperor would need in the afterlife. All of the relics are on a small scale. The soldiers each have unique faces and include men, women, and eunuchs. The people are also of different regions of China and the archeologists could tell which were Mongolian, etc. because of different facial features unique to different regions of China. Each little terracotta person was dressed in a silk outfit and each figure is anatomically correct (which is how they could tell they were women, men and eunuchs). Only the pits around the emperor’s tomb were excavated. The mountains, actually man-made mounds, holding the emperor and the empress were left alone. Surrounding the mounds of the emperor and the empress are the mounds of other royal family members. The mausoleums of the emperors are very large and can cover many square miles. Xi’an has the mausoleums of 74 emperors surrounding the city. China had over 150 emperors and Xi’an was the capital city for over 70 of them.

Posted by SusanConradWang 07:01 Archived in China Tagged han_dynasty_tomb Comments (0)

Xi'an City Walls and Scooter Taxi Ride

A pleasant walked followed by a death defying ride.

sunny 84 °F

On our final night in Xi’an we decided to walk the ancient city walls. The walls form a square around the old part of the city. Within the walls there is a bell tower and a drum tower. The bell would ring in the morning to let the people know that the gates were open and the drum would sound at night to let the people know that the gates were closed. While we were close to the North Gate, the South Gate was the only entry point open after 7 PM so we hailed a taxi to the South Gate. The walls are absolutely beautiful at night. Red lanterns hang and give off soft light while the gatehouses are covered with lights and stand out so brightly against the night sky. We also discovered that we could peek down at what people were doing in the city. We saw a rollerblading ring, older people line dancing in a park, and people walking along the streets into restaurants and bars. It seems like everyone goes outside at night to walk and have fun after dinner.
Instead of taking a taxi back to the hotel we were feeling adventurous and decided to take a scooter taxi back to the hotel. The scooter taxi is just what it sounds like. It is a scooter that hauls a covered cart behind it. The breeze felt fantastic and the ride itself was very thrilling. Buses and cars came within inches of the scooter and pedestrians stepped out in front of us several times. We went through a roundabout and I have no idea how we were not hit. Our driver weaved in and out of traffic and when we were only a block away from our hotel, he started driving down the wrong side of the road so that he could drop us directly in front of our hotel. Yikes!

Posted by SusanConradWang 06:49 Archived in China Tagged xi'an _city_walls Comments (0)

Muslim Quarter

Full of eats and treats.

sunny 95 °F

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Large populations of Chinese Muslims live in Xi’an. The Muslim Quarter is south of the drum tower and is a very vibrant, lively and interesting part of the city. The Muslim men wear white caps on their head and the women wear brightly covered scarves over their head. The Muslim Quarter is the only part of the city with very old buildings and houses in their original form. It looks and feels very different from the rest of the city. We ambled down one of the main streets, looking into shops and watching people. There are so many children in Xi’an! Everywhere we went, children were playing on the sidewalks with siblings (maybe not with the 1 child policy in China) or friends.

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We saw men playing Chinese chess, birds in cages hanging from trees, caged crickets in shops, and many unique food items like goat hooves and exotic fruit. We were advised to look but not eat as sanitation standards are not quite what they are in the US. Sigh…some of the food looked really good.

Girls were preparing pitas filled with dates and meat and there was a fried doughnut looking thing that was calling my name. I settled on a Sprite and just sniffed the delicious looking treats.

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This cute little guy was guarding the birds.

Posted by SusanConradWang 20:03 Archived in China Tagged xi'an muslim_quarter Comments (0)

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