After a long tourism high season in Yangshuo, I decided to tour central China, and Xi'an (西安) was my first stop after a 2-hour flight from Guilin. Xi'an means "Peace in the west" in Chinese, has a history of thousands of years, it was the capital for many dynasties in China's history. There are many historical sites and places of interests in Xi'an and the food also attracts many tourists from all over the world.
The old part of Xi'an City is surrounded by ancient city walls, which were built thousands of years ago, protecting the capital from being sieged. Most cities in the past had city walls, some of them are well kept until now, some of them were ruined during certain period of times. The city walls in Xi'an are pretty intact. Several accesses with built in city gates, climb up a couple of flights of stairs, you can reach the walk way on the city wall, where you are able to overlook the downtown area and beyond. Bikes are available to hire from rentals on the wall, but a bit expensive. You can easily spend a couple of hours on the wall, thinking about the wars that happened in the past.
Terracotta warriors are one of the must-sees when visiting Xi'an, it's situated 30 minutes away from Xi'an, need to grab a bus from a station to get there. The site where terracotta warriors are is widely believed to be the tomb for Empire Qin Shi Huang, the first king in China's history. As for where exactly he was buried, nobody knows. In the site, more like a big museum with a couple of sections, the main is the biggest site with the largest scale of pottery soldiers, there are some small sites on the side, which were built and located according to China's zodiac chart.
The discovery of Terracotta Warriors didn't happen long before, in 1974, when local farmers were drilling a well in search of water, some pottery fragments were found under ground, then they were reported to the local related authorities. This is how terracotta warriors were spotted, before that, the legend of Qin Shi Huang's tomb army stayed a mystery, and ever since then, excavation has been going on in a very slow pace. It's said that the warriors were found in color paints, but when they met the oxygen in the air, before long, the color paints would be gone. With the modern technology, better ways of protecting the newly-excavated terracotta warriors made possible, but still not good enough, that's why the excavation goes very very slow.
There are countless warriors in the sites, who knows maybe even more lay in some places unseen. Each is about the same size of a human being, but none of them has the same face, which is amazing enough, not to mention the time they were built. Different soldiers have different outfits, and these outfits stand for different statue of the person, there are footmen, archmen, knights, etc... even the most ancient war wagons with horses. All I can say is amazing, amazing, amazing.
It was 150 RMB for the entrance ticket by the time I visited, but they display all the past entrance tickets in a showcase to show how the entrance tickets evolved, the very first one only cost 10 cents, the one on top left.
Maybe the colorful paints on terracotta warriors can only be seen on pictures.
Other than the pottery soldiers, the museum park itself worth seeing, too.
Xi'an probably has the richest Chinese history, and it's the capital of Shanxi Province, not hard to guess it has the largest and the most interesting museum in Shanxi in terms of the quantity and categories of the exhibits. Get access pass by ID card, it's free to visit, better to avoid weekends because there's always a long queue.
There are so many items in the museum, you can easily get lost in it, free English speaking guides of young graduates on their internship from tourism colleges are able to get.
Traditional drum and bell towers in the city center.
Wheat noodles are very well known to northwestern part of China.
Meat in between bread (肉夹馍), AKA Chinese hamburger, is something you need to try in Xi'an.
Xi'an Muslin Street (回民街), the night market for food and tour souvenirs. Great place to visit at night.