Dr. Chun
Xi'an, China

October, 2014


Our second stop was Xi'an, located in central-northwest China. It is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization in the Yellow River Basin area.  The city has won a reputation all over the world as the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty.

013After we checked into the hotel, I walked to the Bell Tower in downtown. The wooden tower is a stately traditional building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital, Xi'an. 023Next morning, our first stop was Big Wild Goose Pagoda.  As the symbol of the old-line Xian, it is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists.
033Externally, the pagoda looks like a square cone, simple but grand, and it is a masterpiece of Buddhist construction. Inside the pagoda, stairs twist up so that you can climb and overlook the panorama of the city from the arch-shaped doors on four sides of each storey.

043Da Ci'en Temple is the home of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.  I saw many people burning incense for praying. In Buddhism, incense acts as an offering to Buddhas, or enlightened ones, as well as a symbol for various aspects of Buddhist belief and an aid to positive thoughts and actions.
053The time-honored De Fa Chang Restaurant was our choice for lunch.  We enjoyed traditional Shaanxi dumplings. The dumpling banquet was also a feast for the eyes both in color and in variety.
063In the afternoon, we headed for the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses.  Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum.
073The terracotta army are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.  They are guarding the tomb of Emperor Qui Shi Huang.

083The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is still ongoing at this site.
093After dinner, we drove to Huaquing Hot Spring and watched the performance, “Song of Everlasting Sorrow.”  The performance is a real-scene singing and dancing historical drama with dazzling lights, beautiful music and songs, lavish costumes and the grand stage which is partially submerged in the water. 103Next morning, we rent a taxi and headed for the Yangling Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty (Hanyangling).  It is located about 12 miles from Xian.  The museum has an underground exhibition hall so that people can see the results of the archeological digs in the big mausoleum complex.
113It is a joint tomb of Liu Qi, a notable emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC~24AD), and his empress, Empress Wang.br />
123Through the glass under foot, you can see pottery warriors, animals, chariots, and horses at the underground exhibition hall.
133The mausoleum is a magnificent and abundant cultural relic, comprising the emperor's tomb, empress' tomb, the south and north burial pits, ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard and criminals' cemetery. 143Rising above the fields, there is a small flat-topped hill that is really the burial mound of Emperor Jing who was also called Liu Qi.
153The Forest of Stone Steles Museum, also called the Steles Forest or Beilin Museum, is a themed museum focusing on displays of stone steles, epigraphs, and stone sculptures from past dynasties. 163The collection at the museum has grown and now includes 11,000 relics, including three thousand stone steles or epigraphs that are housed in seven separate exhibition rooms.
173The history of the collection begins in the Tang dynasty when various emperors began to order copies of famous works of literature to be engraved on stone, partly for preservation and security, because works on paper could easily be lost or destroyed. 183Xi'an City Wall is the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.  We rent a tandem bicycle and rode the whole circle of the wall.
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