I will be honest, outside of the Terracotta Warriors, I didn’t know anything about Xi’an. It is definitely a cool city with a lot of history and the smallest of the three cities we visited, only 13 million people. It is one of the oldest cities in China and the oldest of the “Four Great Ancient Capitals.” It is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Quinn Shi Huang.
Our first stop was at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Jianfu Temple built during the Tang Dynasty (707). Pilgrims brought sacred Buddhist writings to the temple and pagoda from India and they were one of the main centers for translating Buddhist texts.
The iron bell dates back to the Jin Dynasty (1192) and striking it said to stop calamities and bring happiness and good luck.
Something I have to share is the skill of this artist painting the inside of these jars and other decorative pieces.
A short lesson on calligraphy
One of the foods Xi’an is famous for is soup dumplings and they did not disappoint. I’m just going to show some pictures and try to remember how good they were.
The City Wall that surrounds Xi’an was started in 194 BC and took 4 years to finish. It is just under 16 miles in length and 40-52 feet thick. Liu Bang of the Han dynasty established his first palace (Changle palace) here. You can rent bikes and ride around the top and get a great visual of the city inside and outside the wall.
The last place we went before seeing the Terracotta Warriors is the Muslim Quarter (also known as Huimin Street). This street history goes back to the Silk Road 1,000 years ago when merchants and overseas students from Arabic countries and Persia came to Xi’an for business.
This street is definitely not for vegetarians that have an eversion for meat. You can pretty much see every type of meat being carved, prepared, grilled or curing. There are also tons of restaurants and food stalls specializing in cakes, fruit, bred candy and stuff I have no idea what it was. I even got into the action with some guys making taffy.
The locals flock to this area and the tourists from all over the world come to experience it.