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Sightseeing in Xian
The first thing you immediately feel is, that Xiâ€™ans atmosphere like the same as Beijing only smaller and more relaxed. The distances are sometimes easy to go by foot and the taxi-rides are cheaper (starting price: 6 Yuan). The first thing we did was going to the Muslim Quarter just, north of the Drum-Tower. In this quarter (Huimin Jie) you will find a mix of souvenir-markets, little shops and restaurant, owned by Muslim-Chinese people. The road to the Great Mosque-temple in the center of the quarter is packed with souvenir-stands. The Great Mosque-temple however is a place of silence, relaxing and seeking for higher levels.
The City God Temple is located on the west-side of the Muslim-quarter. The temple was renovated at our time being, not really interesting or impressive, but there is no entrance fee, so feel free to take a look.
The next stop was the Little Wild Goose Pagoda, 43 meters sky-high (25 + 10 Yuan). Although the Pagoda is beautiful, it is hard to say it is worth climbing the stairs. The view is nothing but office-buildings and flats and the inside of the Pagoda itself is nothing special at all.
By mini-van we started our tour at 9am, sharp, the tour would bring us to several sights:
- Banpo Village Museum, eastern outskirt of Xiâ€™an
- â€œPottery factoryâ€ Terracotta Warriors
- Huaqing Hot Springs, Lintong County 30km from Xiâ€™an, 70 Yuan entrance fee
- Silk factory: Qin Jin Tang
- Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Lintong County 35km from Xi'an, 40 Yuan entrance fee
- The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang, Lintong County 37km from Xiâ€™an, 90 Yuan entrance fee
Banpo Village Museum
This 6000 year old Neolithic village might once have been the origin of todayâ€™s China. The museum shows the site where the village was built, but you will need imagination to get a view how it would have looked like. What you see is the foundations of the houses, which or nothing more than holes in the ground. Furthermore you can see some objects like pottery, handcrafts and skeletons of the people who lived there.
Outside there is a small town rebuilt to give you a better view of the village 6000 years ago. Here you can see how the houses would have looked like, but still you need much imagination to get a good impression.
â€œPottery factoryâ€ Terracotta Warriors
A few minutes later we arrived at the â€œPottery factoryâ€ where they make copies of Terracotta Warriors. In the factory we got a short conducted tour about the process, how they made perfect copies of Terracotta Warriors. The process was actually very simple and was not very different than any other, for making earthenware statues. The time we had to spend in the shop, where we were able to buy warriors and souvenirs ourselves, was on contrary much longer, than the process explanation.
Huaqing Hot Springs
After a bumpy road, by which we passed lots of small villages we arrived at the hot springs. The hot springs are located at the foot of the Mount Lishan, which will provide you beautiful scenery.
The water of the hot springs is coming from the mountains and reaches a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius. The water itself contains minerals and organic materials that have therapeutic effects on the skin. Huaqing contains 4 hot springs and several bathing houses. The hot springs I found not really special, although it is a natural source.
Besides the 4 hot springs the park contains a great variety of beautiful trees, flowers, pools and buildings. Combine this with the great background of the Mount Lishan and you have an idyllic place to walk around.
We had lunch at a big-size restaurant near the â€œSilk factoryâ€ and the amusement park with copies of the â€œSeven World Wondersâ€. Although the restaurant was very big, the food was very good. Definitely, a recommend place to have lunch-break.
Silk factory: Qin Jin Tang
Next to the restaurant we go a short conducted tour in the Qin Jin Tang, silk factory. It seems that Chinese factories prefer to make the conducted tours as short as possible and donâ€™t give too much information about the processes. Instead of spending more time on providing information about the factory processes itself, you have to spend as much time as possible in the shop, with the hope you will buy stuff.
In the factory you got an idea how the process from silk worm till silks is fulfilled. The only thing we saw is the threads of the cocoon are unrolled and woven to silks.
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
After a few minutes we arrived at a big hill, with a stone stairs to the top. At the foot of the hill there was a show going on, about an Emperor and his armies. The actors amused the visitors with some battles, parades and showing some fighting skills. After the show we climbed the stairs to the top of the hill. On top of the hill, you could have a great view, but the weather didnâ€™t allow us to.
The mausoleum is not much more than a hill, but under the hill, the story goes, that there must be a big grave full with treasures. Although it might look easy to dig for it, the grave contains toxic gases, which make it much more difficult (according the story).
The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang
Last but definitely not the least: the Terracotta Warriors. Before you enter the museum, you have to walk for about 20 minutes through the village that is built in front of the museum. The only reason for walking through this village is of itâ€™s commercial importance. The village is modernly built, trying to mislead the tourist, that Chinese people are all rich and have high quality of living.
Luckily, we didnâ€™t have to wait in the queue before entering. The first thing to do is to go to the circle view center. Here you can see a movie in 3D, which gives you an idea about the history of the Terracotta Warriors. Also during the weekend you can have your Terracotta books getting signed by the man who discovered the Warriors.
The museum is divided into 3 pits:
- Pit 1: Is the biggest of the 3 pits. When you enter you must be impressed by the size of this place: 230 meters by 62 meters containing more than 6000 warriors. When you walk around the pit you will also see how much there still has to be dig up.
- Pit 2 and 3: Give you less impression, but also shows how much more there has to be revealed. In pit 3 you can also have a closer look at the statues, shown behind glass.
Furthermore the museum has a small exhibition about other discoveries, which you will find in the UNESCO-building.
In the evening we went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which was already closed. But the park was worth going there. Around the Pagoda there is a huge park, with beautiful pools, fountains, trees, flowers etc. We felt the atmosphere in the park Mediterranean, so relaxed, definitely a place to go to in the evening. The fountain show starts between 8pm and 10pm, but unfortunately we were too late to see it.
Because we were too late the day before to see the fountain show at the Pagoda, we went back for another try. This time we were too early, but we had a look at the
â€œTemple Da Ciâ€™enâ€ at the south-side of the Pagoda. For some people it may be just another temple, but definitely a pleasant place to be. How lucky were we that they are busy to build a new temple here, so we could have a closer look at the people who are building it. It was very interesting and impressing to see, how most of the art-details are made by hand
More sights to see...
- Big Wild Goose Pagoda
- City Wall
- Forest of Stone Steles Museum
- Shaanxi History Museum
- Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show
- Famen Temple
- Mount Huashan