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Exploring China
Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Songpan, Yangshuo

May 2007

Beijing - Xi'an - Chengdu - Songpan - Yangshuo - Back in Beijing

Page: 2 / 6


In the evening that day, we left Beijing on a sleeper train and moved overnight to Xi'an. Xian is the capital of Shaanxi province with a population of over 3 million, and one of the most important cities in Chinese history. Today, Xi'an has become an important cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region. Many of us liked Xi'an the most of all cities visited.

Beijing train station On the train Scenery while leaving Beijing

Many vast sleeping neighborhoods by the railroad, and building even more... Reaching Xi'an early
in the morning

The city is surrounded by a well-preserved wide
city wall, dating to the Ming Dynasty (1374),
12 meters high, and spanning 13.7 kilometers.
A toilet on the move Xi'an city center, the Bell Tower

After settling in the Bell Tower Youth Hostel, right in the city center, we took off some 40 km east of Xi'an to see one of the main attractions in the area, the Terra Cotta Warriors.
Terra Cotta Warriors, the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, is the burial place of the first unifier of China, surrounded by an army of nearly 8.000 life-size clay figures, horses and chariots, buried there for over 2.000 years. Not two figures are the same. The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 by local farmers drilling a water well, and is considered the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century.

On the way, we have stopped in one of the local shops,
where they make and sell replicas of Terra Cotta warriors
Be a Terra Cotta warrior

They also make beautiful Chinese style
furniture and carpets
Arriving to the Terra Cotta museum site

An amazing view on the Pit 1, with more than 2.000 clay solders, horses, and chariots dug up so far,
estimated a total of 6.000 of them standing there in a battle formation

A few close-ups. Each figure is different. A view on the army from the side

Many figures have been destroyed or damaged, and are being reconstructed Pit 2 contains four mobile combat units;
some 1.000 warriors and 500 horses

Pit 3 is much smaller, and represents the command center
or headquarters
The whole museum complex is newly built
around the location...

... with many accompanying
One of them is a tea house, a welcome refuge
from the heat to sample many kinds of Chinese tea
All major kinds of tea

Returning from Terra Cotta Warriors in late afternoon, we went cycling on the Xi'an city wall (Chengqiang). You can rent a bicycle right there on the top of the wall, and drive all the way around for the whole 14 kilometers.

On the top of the city wall We picked up our bikes

It's a clear, sunny day, the heat has let off in the afternoon, and we are really enjoying it.

Peeking over the wall on the streets below The massive wall

A few impressions of the city from the top of the wall A typical
Group photo at
one of the corners

Looking down on
the crowd below
It's an opportunity to get away from the crowds, the noise, and the traffic congestion.

Main city avenues, the latter one going straight
to the Bell Tower and our hostel
Mixing old and new, these buildings are
over 600 years apart

The day ended up with a tasty dinner in the Muslim Quarter, and later on with large quantities of action-priced beer at a local night club. The next day was free to go around the town on our own, until the afternoon, when we were catching another overnight sleeper train to the next destination, Chengdu.

Next page: Chengdu