China, Xian: Petrified glory and power of ancient China
One of the most attractive destinations is the Chinese city of Xian. Today it is the capital of Shaanxi province in the central part of the country and is known for its glorious past, when it was the capital of China. And while our Europe plunged into the darkness of the Middle Ages and the migration of people flooded the continent with savage tribes, Xian (then called Changan) was at the height of its power. There began the Silk Road that ran all the way to Europe and it was a cosmopolitan center with traders and travelers from all around the world. Today Xian is a modern city and, unfortunately, the old palaces and streets are mostly gone. However, some buildings are still preserved.
By far the most impressive thing you`ll see in this city are its walls. Something like that we have never seen in any country. The walls form of a huge square, and the length is almost 14 kilometers, which is the best evidence of the power and importance of the city. All kinds of watchtowers, ramparts and towers are located on the entire length of the wall. Entrances to the city, especially the southern entrance, are real fortress. The wall is very wide, as much as 15 feet, so it is great to walking around the city center free of cars. Centre of Xian is a drum tower. Built in the 14th Century, it got its name from the drums that marked the different times of day. A strangest mosque we`ve ever seen is in the nearby Muslim neighborhoods and looks like a Buddhist or thai temple. It was built in a typical Chinese style with no minarets or domes. Only when you take a look at a part for the prayer you recognize that it is a mosque.
Easy target for traders
Another travel books from the region:Travelogue Cambodia
Travelogue China 1
Travelogue China 3
Travelogue China 4
Travelogue China 5
Streets were turned into a huge market where you can buy various other souvenirs. Since tourists are an easy target for traders, as compared to other parts of China, there is a relatively poor sales of expensive goods. Xian offers and valuable Buddhist pagodas in which important Buddhist relics are stored. However, the rest is mostly typical Xian China - noisy, crowded, full of stress and crowds. Most of the streets in China are the same. Nevertheless, we are loving Xian, and later we will realize that it is, despite its five million inhabitants, one of the smallest of China`s cities where we stayed.
What was a cruel emperor afraid of?
From today`s perspective, the famous terracotta soldiers found about fifty kilometers east of Xi`an emerged from the bizarre reason: a powerful and very cruel emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first unifier of China, which wanted to rule in the afterlife. So he ordered a few thousand troops from the rough clay in natural size. The clay army is armed with real weapons. Every soldier is specifically modeled in different pose and none of them are the same. In addition, several horses and carriages are made of clay, also inj a life-size. This unusual archaeological discovery is a real spectacle for tourists. Looking at the sea of soldiers faces in order to keep their emperor in after life seems both bizarre and terrifying. What was a cruel emperor afraid of?