Category Archives: Xi’an Attractions

The terracotta Army

The terracotta Army is a famous attraction of China because of its uniqueness and Historical significance. It is significant as the hundreds of models of detailed life-size representing the army that has triumphed over all the other Chinese army and who have been the decisive factor in the formation of united China.

The terracotta Army

The terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army Museum is situated at the two kilometer east of The Tomb of Qin Shihuang, who is known as the first Emperor unifying China about 2,200 years ago. Emperor Qin, from whom country China has got its name, ordered for the creation of this model army. UNESCO has selected the Tomb of the First Emperor including the Terracotta Army Vaults as the World Cultural Heritage Site.

The statue of the army of terracotta was made for burying with the first Emperor Qin Shihuang as show of his glory and to remember that army which has got triumphed over the other Warring states for uniting the china and also because it was believed that the objects like the statues can be animated in afterlife and Qin Shihuang required the after death army.

Terracotta army has been discovered in month of the year 1974 by a farmer. The Terracotta Army has been found near the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shihuang which took almost 38 years and thousands of builders to complete. This Terracotta Army was buried for about two thousand years. So far, about 2000 terracotta warriors and chariots have been unearthed.

The excavation of the Terracotta Army figure is regarded as the one of greatest discoveries of the 20th century. It had lain underground for the more than two thousand years before the farmers digging the well in the year 1974 uncovered which is now considered as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

The terracotta Army

The terracotta Army

Thousands of vivid terracotta warriors were found in the course of the excavation and the sight will take you back in the ancient period of warring states. The longbow bearers, horseman, archers and senior officers and the generals were position in the grand ancient army formation in the strict accordance which depicts the ancient art of war. This place is great for seeing the history of the Terracotta Army which was buried long ago.

 

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda is situated in the Da Ci’En or Great Kindness and Grace Temple which is about four kilometers from Urban center and is one of the most renowned Buddhist pagodas in China. This pagoda was build during the Tang Dynasty for studying the Buddhist Scriptures. It has been attacked by the war, weather and earthquake destroying its most of the original structure, the pagoda still exist on the site.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

In 589 AD, during the Sui Dynasty a pagoda was built on the site. It was known as Wu Lou Temple. But, in 648 AD, Li Zhi, a crown prince at that time build the present temple in the memory of his mother which suffered an early death. This temple was since then known as Great kindness and Grace. He paid the homage to his mother by looking towards the temple twice a day from his Hanyan palace when he became the Tang Emperor.

This temple had 13 courtyards and about two thousand magnificent looking rooms and was a place of the grand dimension in the Dynasty of Tang. It gradually decayed after the downfall of this dynasty. The rooms and the halls that exist today are the structures that have been built during the Ming Dynasty. Xuanzang, the Buddhist monk who traveled to India developed theories related to consciousness, translated Sanskrit scriptures, rebirth and karma which were adopted later by the popular schools of Buddhism.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was finished completely in the year 652 AD. It is having five storeys and each having 60 meters height. The decay of the pagoda made it necessity to construct a new ten storey pagoda during 701 to 704 AD. Due to the massive earthquake of 1556, it has lead to the construction of only seven storey and about 60 meters tall structure in the later period of Ming Dynasty which stands till date.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

This pagoda is an example of marvelous architectural design. It was built using layers of bricks and without any use of cement. The bracket style which is used in the traditional architecture of Chinese is also used for the construction of this pagoda. The body of the pagoda has a solemn appearance having a simple style with high structure depicting the traditional Chinese architecture.

 

 

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Small Wild Goose Pagoda is one for the two popular as well as important Buddhist pagodas which was built in the Tang dynasty, 1300 years ago. It is situated at the 72 Youyi West Road.  It is located inside the Jianfu Temple which is about a kilometer south of the Xi’an City proper. Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the large neighbor which is Big Wild Goose Pagoda are the tow important site for Buddhist. These tow pagodas were the symbol of Chang’an or Constant Peace city. Xi’an was called as the Chang’an until the period of Ming Dynasty, when Beijing became the capital of china. Chang’an served as the capital for almost ten dynasties.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

The construction of Jianfu Temple took place in the year 684 AD in the honor of second emperor Lizhi, of the Tang Dynasty on the 100th day after his death. It was called as Xianfu Temple at that time but, later renamed as Jianfu temple by the Empress Wu Xetian. Yijing a famous pilgrim and a great Buddhism translator once lived in the Jianfu temple for translating the Buddhist scripture which he had brought back from India.

Small wild Goose Pagoda was constructed during the period 707 to 709 AD and it was named after its predecessor, Big wild Goose Pagoda which is only five kilometers away. It was originally square brick and 45 meter tall structure, multi-eave having 15 storey. In the year 1556, due to a big earthquake it was reduced to its present 13 storey. After that it has suffered various other earthquakes but it is still well preserved. You can access to the top of this pagoda through a staircase which is inside this pagoda.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Small Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the part of Xi’an Museum. This museum has about 130 thousand pieces of precious relics which shows the splendid culture and history of Xi’an as well as china. These relics include jade articles, Buddhist statues, seals, porcelains, stone carvings, paintings and calligraphy  The small exhibition hall which is beside the museum displays some of the paintings of Huxian County farmers which is famous for portraying the aspects of the country life on newspaper and blackboards and in the large murals as well as the collections which are gathered from the folks.

 

Xi’an Drum tower

Xi’an Drum tower is built across the Bell tower and the Drum Tower square. It is situated to the northwest of the Bell tower and has structure which is similar to Bell Tower. Drum Tower was erected in the year 1380 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. The Name of the Drum Tower is derived from the huge drum which is hung within it. This bell was stuck at the dawn time and drum was beaten at the sunset time to indicate the end of that day.

Xi'an Drum Tower

Xi’an Drum Tower

 

There are many large drum, which are hang at the ground level on the outside of the Drum Tower. Each of these drum is decorated with many beautiful Chinese writing invoking good fortune. You can enjoy the impressive arrays of drums which are only for show and it is not allowed to any visitor to beat any of them. There is one drum which is near the front entrance and you can try a pose for picture for which you have to pay a little amount.

 

There is a drum museum which is inside the Drum tower. There are wide varieties of drums for display there. Some of these drums are about thousand years old. A drum show is also performed here everyday. You can also enjoy the panoramic view of the city of Xi’an from the top of the tower. It is situated very close to the Bell tower and almost similar to it with some differences.

Xi'an Drum Tower

Xi’an Drum Tower

 

Huashan (Flower Mountain)

Huashan (Flower Mountain)

Huashan (Flower Mountain)

Huashan is made from the combination of two words. Hua means Chinese, brilliant or flowery and shan means mountain. Huashan is one of the five sacred mountains of Taooist in China. Huashan has a lot of other religious sites: pavilions, Taoist Temples and engraved scriptures which are scattered over the mountain
Hou mountain is famous for its plunging ravines and sheer cliffs. It is also considered as the most precipitous mountain under the heaven and probably the most dangerous mountain of the world freqented by the hikers.

This mountain is located at about 120 kilometers east from Xi’ans and it takes about three hours from city centre to reach there. There are total five peaks which make up the mountain namely Cloud Terrace Peak or North Peak, Jade Maiden Peak or Middle Peak, Sunrise Peak or East Peak, Lotus Peak or West Peak and the Landing Wild Goose Peak or South Peak. North Peak, being lowest of all these peaks is the starting point. There are three ways to go there. The six kilometer winding track from the Huashan village, cable car or the path beneath it.
Jade Maiden peak is next on this route. There is a story that the jade maiden was seen once riding a white horse among these mountains and hence it was named. You can choose to take left for seeing the Sunrise peak which is the best place to enjoy the view of the sunrise in the morning.

Huashan (Flower Mountain)

Huashan (Flower Mountain)

Alternatively you can also take to the right to the Lotus peak. Huashan means the Flower mountain and its name has been derived from the Lotus Peak which has the resemblance to the beatiful blooming flower of lotus. There is a gondola which can take you to the steep valley to the Landing Wild Goose peak which is the highest among these summits. The path there is characterised by the steep rock faces having a wide plack walkway which is fixed to the sheer rock face and there si a chain along the rock for support. The route has the foot hold in the rocks and chain for holding. After that you will get a vertical ladder in the cleft of the rock. The South Peak is very dangeours in winter however the view from this Peak is spectacular. This mountain is worth to see for anybody.

Banpo Museum

Banpo Museum is located at the eastern outskirts of the Xi’an city. It is the first prehistoric excavation museum site of China. Banpo (half slope) was one of the typical villages of Neolithic Matriarchal community of Yangshao culture in 5000-3000 BC which is around 6000 years ago. The culture of Yangshao was named after the discovery of the first civilization in Yangshao of Henan Province. More than 400 sites of this type around the Basin of the Yellow River have been discovered till now and the Banpo site being the largest among all of them.

Banpo Museum

Banpo Museum

This site was discovered in the year 1953 where the construction of a power plant was going in that area. Since after then, the work of excavation was started and it took almost four years. The Banpo site was then opened to the public in the year 1958. More than two million people have visited this site since then.

The Banpo site have occupied an area of about 50 thousand square meters and it has been divided into three major parts which are the pottery making area, the living area and the cemetery area. There are about 46 dwellings, over 200 storage pits, two domestic animal pens, 73 burial jars for the kids, 174 adult tombs, six kilns for pottery making and many domestic as well as production tools. This site provides the clear picture of the life styles of the primitive people of Banpo long ago.

Banpo Museum

Banpo Museum

 

Banpo Museum has two exhibition halls and one excavation site hall. In the first exhibition hall, the tools like stone knives, fishhooks, sickles, specula, etc are displayed which were used by the people of Banpo. These exhibits are the examples for the visitors to see the activities of the Banpo people. The second exhibition hall contains the showpieces which are the art items and major inventions reflecting the social life and fork culture of that time. Few artifacts present in this hall include a pointed bottom bottle, fish-and-human-face design pottery, pottery steamer and burial jars of children.

Forest of Stele Museum

Forest of Stele Museum of Xi’an is located at the three school (15 Sanxue) street which is near the south gate of magnificent City Wall. It was established in the year 1090 during the period of northern Song Dynasty. The Stele Forest Museum of Xi’an is famous nationally for the fine and large collection of over one thousand inscribed stones which was engraved during the 2000 year period of the Han Dynasty to Qing Dynasty. It is one of the best places for getting closer to the history and culture of China.

Forest of Stele Museum

Forest of Stele Museum

This museum is spread over the area of more than 30,000 square meters and is divided into seven main exhibition halls displaying historical records, stone carvings and ancient work of calligraphy.

The Exhibition Hall displays the text of the twelve confucian classic carved on the 14 steles The 12 works include the Book of Changes, Analects of Confucius, the Book of Songs and some others. All of these twelve classics are very much intersting to read for intellectuals to know about the feudal society o china. The stones were engraved about two thousnad years ago and at that time printing was not invented. For preserving these works and the pass them to the later generation, the rulers vave carved them on to these stones.

Hall two has the calligraphy steles which were written by some of the prominent calligraphers of the China’s Tanag Dynasty. The Dynasty of Tang has witenessed the wide creativity in various fields. The classic calligraphy of China has reached in the gloden age during this period. You can find many works of Yan Zhenqing, Zhang Xu, Ouyang Xun and many other ancient calligraphers in this hall.

Third Hall also exhihits excellent works of calligraphy. The steles inscribed have five different varieties of calligraphy i.e. seal characters, regular script, official script, cursive hand and running hand. These steles will give you the clear idea about the development of the Chinese writing. These calligraphy of China are very much important part of magnificent culture of China and these stone tablets have become an important way to explore the long and magical ancient culture of China.

Forest of Stele Museum

Forest of Stele Museum

Hall four have various sculpture of stones and these are the works of Han Dynaty to the Tang Dynasty. These sculpture inclueds various portraits of Buddha and confucius. Hall five displayes some of the historical records engraved in steles and many poems are displayed in the Hall Six and Seven.

 

Bell Tower

The Bell Tower stands at the crossing of East, West, North and South avenues in the city proper is a well known symbol of Xi’an. This tower was originally built in the year 1348 at the end of the Yuan dynasty. It was moved to its present site in the year 1552 during the period of the Ming Dynasty.

Bell Tower

Bell Tower

It was enlarged and rebuilt during the period of Ming Dynasty. There was a huge iron bell which was hung in the tower and used for striking the hours. It is very grand ancient building and has the features of traditional Chinese architecture. This Tower is very beautifully lit at the night. The tourists can get the bird’s eye view from the top of this town of the areas surrounding and the brightly decorated eaves of the building.

The Bell Tower acts as central landmark of this city and four prosperous commercial streets stretch towards in each direction. A must see to Ming city, the Drum Tower is located nearby in the west direction of the Bell tower. They are the outstanding example of ancient architecture. While entering to the old gate of Drum tower, you will be warmly welcome by the old street having bluestone pavement and it is full of the Muslim restaurants which are decorated in the Ming and Qing Dynasty style.

Bell Tower

Bell Tower

There is Beiyuanmen Muslim Market, where you can get the taste of local snacks. The Great mosque is only a block away from the Drum Tower and is the spiritual root of more than 60 thousand Muslims mainly of Hui minority working and living here. If you wish to know the city wall earlier than Ming then Hanguan Gate Site Museum provides you the perfect description of the ancient wall of about 1,400 years ago at Zenith of the Xian history. There are many attractive ancient and historical sites around the Bell Tower and a worth to watch.

Xi’an Great Mosque

Xi’an Great Mosque is located at Change feeling (30 Huajue) lane, which is in the center of the city. It is one of the largest and most important Islamic places for worship in China.

This mosque was constructed in the year 724 ad, Which was the 1st year of the Tianbao Era of Xuanrong reign in the Dynasty of Tang. The additions were made in the Dynasties of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing which makes this mosque an ancient architectural complex and representative of a long period of time and history.

Xi’an Great Mosque

Xi’an Great Mosque

During the period of Tang Dynasty, The Islam was introduced in china by several Arabian merchants. During that time, many Muslims settled in China and married to Han people. Then, at that time, this Great Mosque was constructed honoring the founders of Islamic religion in China. After then several other mosques have been constructed all across this country.

This Great Mosque covers an area of approx 6000 square meters. The whole complex has been divided into the four courtyards. First courtyard has the wooden arch in it. This arch is nine meters in height and covered with glazed tiles which can be traced back to seventeenth century. There are three chambers which stand on the either side of the arch. This displays some furniture which is preserved from the Ming and Qing Dynasty. There is a steel arch having two steels on the both side of it at the center of the second yard. There are popular calligraphic writings on the steels from the prominent ancient calligraphers. Fourth of the courtyard contains the big prayer hall which can easily accommodate over thousand people.

Xi’an Great Mosque

Inside view of Xi’an Great Mosque

This mosque is the combination of traditional Chinese architecture as well as Islamic art. In the style of Chinese thee are series of the pavilions and the four courtyards having mosque between them. However, the wall is decorated with the Islamic art. It is the only mosque which is open to visitors in china. But, non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to visit the main prayer hall. This mosque was added I the list of UNESCO Islamic Heritage in the year 1985.

 

Ancient City Wall

Ancient City Wall is the first landmark that you will encounter in Xi’an which stretches all round the old city. The northern side of it runs to the parallel of the railway. Xi’an was called a walled city originally and even today, the ancient city wall is considered as a main landmark which divides the city into the inner and the outer part. This city wall is massive, long, tall and thick. The North Gate and the South Gate are the two main Gates for entering into the city and the city is very neatly arrange along this city wall.

Ancient City Wall

Ancient City Wall

Xi’an Ancient City Wall was erected in 14th century under the Ming Dynasty during the regime of the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. When Huizhou was captured by Zhu Yuanzhang, before the establishment of Ming Dynasty, he was very much influenced by the hermit, Zhu Shen who told him to build the high walls. When the whole country was unified, the emperor sends order for building the city walls. The current wall in the city is the enhancement of the old structure of Tang Dynasty.

The city wall at first was built of earth which was rammed one layer upon another layer. Base of this layer was made up of earth, glutinous rice extracts and quick lime tamped together. This made the wall firm and strong. Later on, the wall was enclosed with the bricks totally. A moat, deep and wide ran around the city and over the moat, there was a huge drawbridge. It cut off the way out and in of the city when lifted.

After the enlargement of the Xian’s city wall in the Ming Dynasty it stands about 12 meters high. It was about 12-14 meters across the top, thickness of 15-18 meters at the bottom and about 14 kilometers in length. There was a rampart after every 120 meters. These ramparts are the towers which extend out from main wall. The ramparts allowed the soldiers to see their enemies who try to climb the wall and allowed soldiers to protect wall without being exposed to the enemy. These ramparts are total 98 in number and each one having sentry building on the top of it.

Ancient City Wall

Ancient City Wall

There are gates of the city wall which are the only way to get into or out of the town. There are four gates in each of the four directions and each has three towers. The gate tower is used to lower and lift the drawbridge. The narrow tower is in the middle which was used to shoot the arrow using the square window and the main tower forms the way for entrance to the city. It also has tunnels and watch towers which was used by the soldiers for the protection of the city from enemies.