The Terracotta Army – Attracting the Crowds

On May 24, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an, by Jack Li

Since the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in 1974 close to the city of Xi’an it has been one of the main destinations for tourists all over the world and it is the main reason for people to travel to Xi’an. It’s not that the city doesn’t have other interesting sites of historical value to […]

Since the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in 1974 close to the city of Xi’an it has been one of the main destinations for tourists all over the world and it is the main reason for people to travel to Xi’an. It’s not that the city doesn’t have other interesting sites of historical value to offer but none that can get close to the importance of the warrior and horse statues. For decades it has now been the number one place included in all Xi’an Tours. The warriors, chariots and horses had the purpose of defending the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in his afterlife. Built in the 3rd century BC the army now counts as the most significant find of the 20th century and was declared a UNESCO World cultural heritage in 1987.

 

To avoid disappointment however, it’s helpful to be prepared to what to expect. It is one of the most visited historical attractions in the world and for that reason very touristy and crowded. In general in high season the place always seems to be packed with groups and individuals. To avoid ‘rush hour’ you can try to get there either early in the morning or late in the evening during the opening hours. A convenient and cheap way to get there is by public bus number 306 for as little as 7 RMB which leaves frequently from the Xi’an Railway Station north of the center. You pay for your ticket on the bus and it takes about an hour to get to the Terracotta Army. This public bus lets the passenger off at a smaller parking lot next to the main one where all the tour coaches park. The bus back to the city leaves at the same place, so remember how to get there.

 

Once you get off the bus you have to walk a little bit to get to the ticket both where you’ll be surrounded by guides offering you a tour and lots of helpful information about the place and its history. It’s up to you to decide if you think it’s worth the money and be careful, some people can get really pushy trying to convince you of their service. After you got your tickets you need to walk up to get to the actual entrance gate. Just follow the crowd or the signs, it’s hard to miss. The way leading towards it is almost built like a small village consisting of countless souvenir shops for all the visitors offering more or less the same articles. For really original souvenirs you might want to go to less visited places where you can get better souvenirs at more reasonable prices.

 

Once you’ve made your way up and have passed the gate you’ll get to the large main area with newly constructed buildings, clean and well taken care of. There are in total four separate pits and a museum in different buildings. Pit no. 1 is the biggest and most popular one with the largest number of well preserved warriors and horses. My personal advice is nevertheless to start with the second pit. It is much smaller than the first one and has a lot less warriors and horses but the building has a lower ceiling and is darker and cooler inside with lesser visitors than the biggest pit. This adds to the magic effect those ancient statues have on visitors. Don’t leave out the first pit, though. Just be prepared to people pushing you around to get a good picture close to the entrance with the warriors in the background. And apart from that, the arched hall constructed to protect the warriors seems like a hangar and takes away the ‘glamour’ or the special atmosphere which you’ll find in the smaller pits.

If you want to eat something before getting on the bus to head back to your Xi’an Hotels there are lots of food stands and smaller restaurants where you can get anything from ice cream, fruit and snacks to full meals. It’s no secret that food is overpriced and generally not very high standard at touristy places like this one. So you could consider bringing food yourself or waiting for dinner until you get back to the city. As mentioned in the beginning, the Terracotta Army is one of the most important historical sites in China, so go ahead and plan your trip, but keep in mind that you’re not the only one who has this idea.

The Ancient Culture Street in Xi’an

On May 18, 2012, in Historical Relics, Other Places of Interest, Xi'an, by Jack Li

For many people the most important reason to travel to Xi’an is the city’s culture and its long history. Because of its great importance for China’s early development the city of Xi’an has numerous interesting sites to offer which are related to different Chinese dynasties in and around the city center. On your Xi’an Tours […]

For many people the most important reason to travel to Xi’an is the city’s culture and its long history. Because of its great importance for China’s early development the city of Xi’an has numerous interesting sites to offer which are related to different Chinese dynasties in and around the city center. On your Xi’an Tours you will certainly want to see some traditional and well-known places but apart from the must sees the less crowded and less visited locations often have a very different and more original atmosphere.

 

One place in Xi’an which in not unknown among tourists but still much less frequented by many visitors than other quarters is the Ancient Culture Street, called Shuyuanmen in Chinese (meaning the gate of the Academy for Ancient Learning) or also referred to as ‘Old Street’. It got its name from the ancient Guanzhong Academy which used to be one of the four famous academies of ancient learning across the country.

It is an old and original street in Xi’an, located inside the city walls east of the South Gate of the city wall. From the Bell Tower in the middle of the city it’s not too far to walk but you can also take the bus or a cab. Depending on the direction you come from crossing the road to actually get to the arts and culture street can be a challenge because traffic can be really bad around the south gate.

 

Two archways mark the beginning and the end of the main street in this quarter which is in many ways more relaxed than all the popular places which you can find on any map and in any guidebook; this street gives you the opportunity to walk around in an area which used to be very important back in the Ming and Qing dynasties when this part of town was the cultural center of Xi’an, formerly called Chang’an. You can still find many relics from these times.

This area is great to stroll around and buy some traditional Chinese handicrafts and unique gifts. You will find jade carvings, hand-painted folding fans, painting utensils like traditional brushes and ink, bronze ware, porcelain and different artworks. Especially in the side alleys there are many smaller galleries where you can find unique pieces of art from Chinese calligraphy to contemporary oil paintings and sculptures. If you’re lucky you can watch some artists as they work on their paintings.

 

You can enjoy local food, like the delicious cold noodles or the famous dumplings, and different kinds of street food for regular prices instead of the imported and overpriced western food which you can find more or less anywhere in the touristy places. In general, I think people who go on China Tours might be a little skeptical about original Chinese food because it doesn’t have much in common with the dishes you can get in western Chinese restaurant but once you’ve tried the original flavors you’ll know why it is so famous.

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Xi’an: The Muslim Quarter

On May 17, 2012, in Ethnic Group Flavors, Other Places of Interest, Xi'an, by Jack Li

To experience an ancient city at a grassroots level, then travel to Xi’an and no further than The Muslim Quarter (or Islamic Street as it is otherwise known). The Muslim community is primarily composed of the Hui people who have resided in Xi’an since the Tang dynasty. Their presence emerged in the area as a […]

To experience an ancient city at a grassroots level, then travel to Xi’an and no further than The Muslim Quarter (or Islamic Street as it is otherwise known). The Muslim community is primarily composed of the Hui people who have resided in Xi’an since the Tang dynasty.
Their presence emerged in the area as a result of the influence of Islam along the Silk Road with Xi’an being the final destination. As China’s silk trade was fundamental in its historic advancement, so Xi’an has an intrinsic place in the country’s past. This article will highlight that there is more to this region of China other than Terracotta Army and thus gives more weight towards booking Xi’an flights.

Hidden behind the city’s Drum Tower, The Muslim Quarter is an excellent place to experience a different side to Chinese culture. In particular, Islamic Street offers an array of food to tickle the taste buds. It is evident that the food has been influenced by foods from typically Muslim areas of the world and China per se, yet also having its own unique flavour. Indeed, the entire quarter has this mixed feel; the Great Mosque is evident of this combined Islamic-Chinese feel. Indeed, this fact is supported by the advent of the riveting Xi’an Halal Food Festival 2012.

It has been suggested that Marco Polo brought the idea of the pizza back the Italy after observing the Chinese pizza being made in the Muslim Quarter. This is a contentious point, as some say the Greeks invented the pizza. Nevertheless, amassed along the many stalls down Islamic Street are many tasty treats with the most common including trays of dates and nuts. Again, this is a reflection of the cross-cultural fusion. Dates, for example, are a very popular fruit in many parts of the Islamic world, however the vast amount of dates on display in the Muslim Quarter were specifically ‘jujube’ or the deep-red date which is common in China. In a similar vein, market was also showcased countless walnuts which could be seen turning slowly in a large roaster. Despite all these foods sounding delicious, the prices would hopefully mirror the tasty with dates fetching 198RMB per pound!

Islamic Street sure does have an unparalleled traditional atmosphere which is acts as a glimpse of days gone by. Take the brass statutes scattered around the main street; these are not only a fun way to take some photos, but also depict in marvellous detail scenes of life in the old city. One statute, for example, was of a little girl requesting some drink from an old vendor whilst her mother lovingly watching. Another particularly interesting feature of the quarter was the bird cages hanging along the street with cute and colourful feathered friends hopping and chirping inside. Centrally located, this corner of the ancient city of Xi’an is a stone’s throw from many of the advertised Xi’an hotels.

The Great Mosque of Xi‘an

On May 16, 2012, in Historical Relics, Other Places of Interest, Xi'an, by Jack Li

  When you travel to Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, the Great Mosque situated in the center of the city is a place you should visit in any case. This Islamic mosque is located in the Moslem quarter but it’s almost hidden and not so easy to find. It is surrounded by walls and […]

 

When you travel to Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, the Great Mosque situated in the center of the city is a place you should visit in any case. This Islamic mosque is located in the Moslem quarter but it’s almost hidden and not so easy to find. It is surrounded by walls and for that reason not visible from the distance. If you have a tour guide on your Xi’an Tours you don’t need to worry about it but if you want to look for it yourself you should either get a detailed map or ask locals in the Moslem quarter for directions; they certainly know how to get there. As for many other things it might be advisable to have the place you want to go to written in Chinese, even if you don’t understand the answer exactly you can understand a little from the gestures and you’ll at least be sent in the right direction.

It is one of the oldest, largest and best preserved mosques in China and for that reason definitely worth a trip even if you are not in general interested in the religious aspect of it. With 25 RMB the entrance fee is not at all overpriced and you really get to see an old and original part of Xi’an and a great insight into another religion which played an important role in Chinese history. Compared to all the mainly Buddhist and Taoist temples there are only few well preserved mosques which are open to the public. But just looking at the architectural style and the artfully constructed elements is already worth the visit.

The mosque’s history dates back to the Tang Dynasty; carved stone tablets which are still preserved indicate that is was set up in 742 AD. It was restored and widened in the following dynasties which made it such a large and interesting historical architectural complex. Luckily, it escaped damage during the Cultural Revolution and is today protected and supported by the government and the Communist Party with special funds for renovations. The grounds of the mosque have a rectangular shape from the east to the west and the place is divided into four courtyards which are separated by beautiful archways, pavilions and gateways, constructed in different time periods. The Worship Hall is not open to the public; it can only be entered by worshippers. For about 30,000 Muslims living in Xi’an it is a crucial part of their religious life and many attend the daily prayers.

This mosque is probably different from what you have in mind when you think about mosques in other countries. The Chinese influence in its architecture from different dynasties is clearly visible which makes the place even more interesting. If you visit the Drum Tower in Xi’an you almost automatically get to the Moslem quarter. So why would you want to miss out on the centerpiece? As a result of its location it’s not too crowded with tourists, so you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and relax in this historical setting. On your China Tours you will probably get the chance to see different religious sites. The aspect that most of them have in common is that they build a contrast to the area surrounding them. No matter if it’s a Buddhist temple, an Islamic mosque or Christian church; they all offer a place to escape the busy daily life for a moment.

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Tourism at the Terracotta

On May 16, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Historical Relics, Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an, by Jack Li

Mentioned in countless China travel guides and sometimes referred to as the ‘eighth wonder of the World’, the Terracotta Army (The Army) is a must-see attraction. If you have ever watched the 2008 Hollywood movie, ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’, then this is in line with what you can expect to see at […]

Mentioned in countless China travel guides and sometimes referred to as the ‘eighth wonder of the World’, the Terracotta Army (The Army) is a must-see attraction. If you have ever watched the 2008 Hollywood movie, ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’, then this is in line with what you can expect to see at The Army and all the more reason to travel to Xi’an. The exquisite representation of these periodic sculptures will captivate your imagination over China’s ancient past.

Discovered by locals in 1974 and covering over 16,000 meters squared, The Army holds great significance not only as a find, but also as an important part of China’s history. The manufacturing of the (potentially 8,000) ceramic warriors is a magnificent achievement to personify the first Emperor of unified China in the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC). Along with the warriors, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang is supposedly protected in the afterlife by over 100 horse and 500 chariots. At first glance, warriors appear as refined pieces of art in pristine condition. Yet it is amazing the think that on discovery The Army was a cluster of piece and that it took years to reconfigure the statutes currently on view. Admittedly, to this day, not all the statutes have been found and the excavations are a work in progress. For this reason, tourists are prohibited from taking photos in the excavation areas.

Indeed, with three pits, and exhibition area and the Emperor’s Mausoleum to observe, there is little reason to be disappointed with what the museum has to offer. Take note, however, that there is a fair distance from the entrance of the museum grounds to the actual exhibition area. This stretch can be referred to as a ‘tourist trap’ considering the amount of shops selling the same items and tour guides encouraging you to sign up with their tour. Interestingly, as we figured out, the further you walk into the museum grounds, the price of the tour guides generally reduces. Also, actually in the area around the pits, be prepared to have people persistently trying to sell, typically a box of terracotta warriors, to you. Still, due to the quantity of these identical items, you will be guaranteed to get a cheap deal through haggling.

As a consequence of The Army’s monumental impact, the site was accordingly given World Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO in 1987. The museum itself is rather expensive at 150RMB, but as this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience perhaps it is worth stretching the purse strings and provides a good excuse to book China flights sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

 

Following the Traces of History by Bike

On May 14, 2012, in Activities, Historical Relics, Xi'an, by Jack Li

Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi Province and with a history of over 3,000 years one of the oldest cities in China. Apart from the world famous Terracotta Army which is a must see for many visitors going on China Tours the city has many other places of interest to offer. One site most people who […]

Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi Province and with a history of over 3,000 years one of the oldest cities in China. Apart from the world famous Terracotta Army which is a must see for many visitors going on China Tours the city has many other places of interest to offer. One site most people who travel to Xi’an are interested in is the well known City Wall. Although the existing wall has a history of about 800 years it is the best preserved fortification from ancient times in China.

The first city wall in Xi’an, formerly called Chang’an, was built as early as 194 B. C. but the existing walls are from the Ming Dynasty. They served as a military defense system and Xi’an’s City Wall remains one of the greatest examples of fortifications of that time. The Wall is 40 feet (12 meters) tall and up to 46 feet (14 meters) wide at the top; it has four gates, one in each direction. With a length of nearly nine miles (14 kilometers) surrounding the old part of the city in a continual rectangle including numerous towers and ramparts it still marks the ancient borders of Xi’an (Chang’an).

The regular entrance fee for the City wall is 40 RMB which is a very reasonable price if you consider the historical importance of this place and you can take the opportunity to go on a bike ride around the city on top of the wall. From there you have a wonderful view on the ancient center of Xi’an inside the wall and the more modern parts on the outside of the wall. It creates a special atmosphere including both, the old and the new Xi’an. The two main roads going from north to south and from west to east meet in the center of the old part. Right in the middle the Bell Tower is located which you can see from the main gates of the wall.

A bike ride round tour takes between one and one and a half hours if you don’t take too many breaks to take pictures or to rest. Given that the wall is quite old it’s a little bumpy in some parts but that adds to the feeling of this historical place. Best times are, as with so many other activities, the early mornings and evenings to avoid the hottest part of the day during summer and those are usually the times when not too many people come for a visit. You can rent regular bikes and tandems; the cost for a regular bike is 40 RMB for about one and a half hours and the deposit is 200 RMB per bike.

You can’t just access the wall anywhere; the easiest and most popular entrance is at the south gate. Many bus lines go there so you can ask the friendly staff at your Xi’an Hotels which bus number you can take and where the closest bus stop is. Or you can take a taxi where it’s always a good advice to have someone write the place you want to go to in Chinese which you can simply show to the driver. If you ask for the approximate price before you get into the taxi you can avoid unpleasant surprises when you get off. Some taxi drivers assume that you have no idea about the regular price and charge you more than locals but in general taxis are a lot cheaper than in Western countries and it can safe time as long as you don’t get caught in traffic during rush hour.

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Xi’an- Pottery Experience

A must do when in China is to go out to Xi’an which is in the Shaanxi province and be blown away by the sight of the Terracotta Soldiers. At the moment China Tours are doing great deals on a one day tour to see this fascinating piece of history which you shouldn’t miss in […]

A must do when in China is to go out to Xi’an which is in the Shaanxi province and be blown away by the sight of the Terracotta Soldiers. At the moment China Tours are doing great deals on a one day tour to see this fascinating piece of history which you shouldn’t miss in your trip to China. There is so much to see and so much to learn in regards to this location that one has to see it for themselves rather than looking up pictures in textbooks and the internet.  You can easily access Xi’an flights from Beijing at great prices or even catch a train to get to this exquisite location.

For years there were always rumours about there being terracotta figurines of some sort as tiles and pottery have been dugged up but it wasn’t until 1974 when some local farmers discovered this rumour to be true. It was found approximately 1.6 kilometres away from the Qin Emperors tomb which is located at Lintong. With this find, archaeologists flocked to this site to see what else could be discovered. In 1975 the museum opened up for all to see the biggest terracotta find in China, which covers the size of 16,300 square metres. The site is made up of three sections which are known as pits, they are made up of different soldiers and horses in each one. All up there are up to 7,000 terracotta figurines to see and be amazed by.

What you will see will be life sized soldiers assembled in battle formations and every soldier is unique and has their very own facial characteristics, which is amazing. Each arm and leg, torso and head were made separately and then assembled together. Also with the discovery of the soldiers, horses and chariots, bronze weaponry was also discovered which are made up of swords, spears, arrow heads, crossbows and dagger-axes. Considering these weapons were buried for roughly 2,000 years they are still in perfect condition, even the edges are still sharp.

 

This area is now a major tourist destination and is very accessible from the airport. There are also shuttles from Lishan Garden to the Terracotta Warriors, which are in fact for free. In 2010 it was declared the site to be known as Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Park which also includes smaller areas being discovered in relation to the pottery figurines. Lishan Garden should also be a part of the list to see whilst you are there. One can see the grave mound of the Qin Tomb, subordinate tombs and two museums at the same time. It is predicted that one can see the Terracotta site within four hours but it would be better off to spend the whole day and definitely include Lishan Gardens, would hate to think of missing out on anything.

The Terracotta Soldiers should definitely be in the top five sights to see and experience when planning a trip to China. This is one of the greatest discoveries in the 20th century and everyone should go experience this great location. Enriched with so much history of the Qin Dynasty and the fascinating individualistic soldiers one cannot say no. Xi’an Tours would be the best way to go to plan this great adventure, so do it NOW!!

A Short First Timers Guide to Trains in China

On September 20, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Tips & Ideas, Travel Info, by Jack Li

During your China travel adventure, You may consider venturing out on the train for an interesting cultural experience, a day trip to somewhere new or simply as a method of transport from point A to B. Less hassle than catching a flight or taking a bus, the trains in China cover most of the important […]

During your China travel adventure, You may consider venturing out on the train for an interesting cultural experience, a day trip to somewhere new or simply as a method of transport from point A to B. Less hassle than catching a flight or taking a bus, the trains in China cover most of the important tourist destinations alongside local areas so you can travel to Xian, Shanghai, Guilin, Tibet, Guangzhou and more depending on your itinerary.

 

Train Categories in China

Trains in China have multiple categories, distinguished by a letter (this precedes a number which corresponds to the route). ‘K’ and ‘T’ are the oldest and therefore slowest train types, with the middle category being the ‘Z’ train. Trains starting with a  ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘G’ are the newest and fastest trains, usually with the highest prices, although this is worthwhile if you are short of time and far from the price you would pay for the same distance in a western country.

 

Seat and Sleeper Classes in China

There are a variety of seat and sleeper classes on Chinese trains, however some are restricted to certain trains, for example long distance or popular routes. The types available are: Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, Soft Seat, Hard Seat and the less often seen Deluxe Sleeper.

Soft sleeper is a 4 bed compartment with a lockable door, car attendant and occasionally, TV screens and power supplies. This is the most popular category for western tourists and nicely fits a family of four. The two lower bunks convert into sofa’s for daytime use. Hard sleeper is an open plan 6 bed partition and has no lockable door. These berths are popular with the backpacker crowd and travellers with a lower budget.

Soft and hard seats are similar to those on western trains, soft is slightly larger and more padded being equivalent to first class back home, whilst second class are cheaper and adequate, like standard train seats in Europe and America.

Deluxe sleepers are usually found on long distance overnight trains and consist of a private 2 bed compartment with private bathroom area. Travellers use these less often, as they are usually equivalent to the cost of a flight and generally occupied by government employees.

Train facilities

All except the oldest ‘K’ and ‘T’ trains are fully air conditioned and generally have both western and squat toilets available. Toilet paper is very rarely supplied so be prepared to bring your own supply for the journey. Smoking is only permitted outside of sleeping compartments and aisles, however the newer model trains have a non-smoking rule.

All long distance trains and those running a popular route have restaurants on board. They are housed in a restaurant car and those heading to or from major tourist orientated towns and cities will likely have an English menu. There are snacks, drinks and hot meals available. In addition to this there are usually hot water dispensers situated throughout the train should you wish to make your own hot drinks, soup or pot noodles.

 

Booking and Purchasing Tickets

You can purchase tickets prior to your arrival in China or through an agent, this is a stress free easier method especially if you don’t have a very flexible itinerary, however there will be an added fee for the convenience.

It is simple enough to book tickets yourself and large cities generally have an English speaking booth available. Tickets for the popular high speed trains usually come on sale up to 20 days before departure however the older and less used trains often leave it until 5 to 10 days before. It is recommended to take your passport as for certain routes and trains it needs to be presented in order for you to book a ticket. Another point to be aware of is you are only able to book a journey departing from the station you are at, so you cannot book a journey from Beijing to Xian if you are at Shanghai Central Station.

A recommended website for train travel throughout China (and other cities) with all other vital information including photographs is Seat 61. You can also book many train journeys within China online at China Travel Depot.

 

Bell Tower

 Bell Tower in Xian, built in 17th year during the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in Ming Dynasty (AD 1384), is situated in the center of Xian City. There is a big bell hung in it, therefore it is named as ‘Bell Tower’. It is the biggest and most complete one of Chinese ancient bell […]

 Bell Tower in Xian, built in 17th year during the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in Ming Dynasty (AD 1384), is situated in the center of Xian City. There is a big bell hung in it, therefore it is named as ‘Bell Tower’. It is the biggest and most complete one of Chinese ancient bell towers. Xian is the most important military city in Ming Dynasty. In terms of scale, historical value and artistic value, Xian Bell Tower is the champion of similar buildings. Bell Tower is a three-floor building, built on a square base with bricks and woods. It is 36 meters high. The base is 8.6 meters high. Each side of the base is 35.5 meters long. Its total area is 1377.4 square meters. The overall style of Bell Tower is typical Ming architecture. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top of Bell Tower. The roof is covered with bottle-green glazed tiles and the wall is painted with golden pictures. The rooms of the Bell Tower are decorated with painted pillars and carved beams. And each door of the tower was carved with eight embossments. Each embossment represents an ancient story. The copper-gilt pinnacle is shining under the sunray. From the Bell Tower stretch out four roads in the east, west, north and south. The four roads separately connected with the eastern, western, northern and southern gates of the Ming City Wall. The original site of the Bell Tower was at Guangji Street. In the middle of each side of the base, there is a cave about 6 meters high. It used to be the pass way, as the four roads crossed there. But now it can’t meet the need of traffic flow, so it was closed. Instead of it, around the Bell Tower built highway turntable and under the Bell Tower built souterrain. The Bell Tower in ancient China was used to tell the time, now it becomes one of the symbols of Xian. The bell in the tower, named ‘Jing Yun’, was built in the second year of Jingyun during the reign of Emperor Taizhong in Tang Dynasty. The bell is 2 meters high and 1.5 meters in diameter. It is over five thousand kilograms. The bell was carved with flying cranes and dragons. You could hear the ring of the bell from ten miles. It was first set in the Bell Tower at Guangji Street, afterwards it following the Bell Tower moved to the recent site. The bell we saw is a copy. The real one is in the Shanxi Historical Museum. The ring of the bell was recorded and broadcasted everyday in the Xian Baohua Building.

Bell Tower Story

1.   Why the Bell Tower Moved

It was moved in the 9th year during the reign of Emperor Wangli. In that year, a great earthquake happened in Xian, the Taoist priest Gao Chengzhi said that the earthquake was caused by a ten thousand years old turtle under the earth. So the local government moved the Bell Tower to the entrance of the turtle’s cave in order to threat the turtle. Afterwards earthquake never happened in Xian. The antithetical couplets in the front of the Bell Tower recorded the story.

2. Blow Xiao (a vertical bamboo flute) to attract phoenix: one of the stories on the carved doors

It is a love story about Xiao Shi and Nong Yu. As the story has a mysterious relationship with music, it is very special in the love history of China. It was said that Xiao Shi was a person in the reign of Qin Mugong during Spring and Autumn Period, and he was very good at blowing Xiao. The beautiful sounds can attract the cranes. The loved daughter of Qin Mugong, named Nongyu, was zealous about the music Xiao Shi blew. So she married Xiao Shi, and learned how to blow Xiao like the sounds of phoenix from her husband. Several years later, the sounds she blew really attracted phoenix coming to their house. Qin Mugong heard of that, built a tall building named ‘Phoenix Platform’ for them. In a morning the couple ridded a phoenix and flied away. In memory of the unique couple, people built a temple, named ‘Feng Nv temple’. It was said that sometimes you could hear the sound of blowing Xiao from the temple.

3. Diao Chang: one of the stories on the carved doors

Diao Chang is one of the Four Great Beauties in Chinese ancient time. She was a servant of Wang Yun, who is an officer loyal to the emperor in East Han Dynasty. But the emperor was under the control of a bad officer, named Dong Zhuo. Wang Yun was very worried about that Dong Zhuo will take the throne. Diao Chang told him that she want to share his worries. As Diao Chang was unbelievably beautiful, Wang Yun asked her to seduce Dong Zhuo and his adopted son, Lv Bu, and sow dissension between them. As a result, Lv Bu killed Dong Zhuo in order to get Diao Chang.

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Shanhe Weir Travel Tips

On August 24, 2011, in Historical Relics, Other Places of Interest, Xi'an, by Jack Li

As the old saying goes, ”Bread is the staff of life”. However, the climate in Hanzhong is not optimal for agriculture with Qinling Mountain shielding off rainfall. To ease the water shortage, the people of Hanzhong built a weir at the mouth of Baohe River to guide water into their fields. This ancient weir in […]

As the old saying goes, ”Bread is the staff of life”. However, the climate in Hanzhong is not optimal for agriculture with Qinling Mountain shielding off rainfall. To ease the water shortage, the people of Hanzhong built a weir at the mouth of Baohe River to guide water into their fields. This ancient weir in Hanzhong is now known as Shanhe Weir.

 Best time to visit Shanhe Weir

Between March and April, when yellow rape flowers cover the fields in full bloom.

 Shanhe Weir best routes

There is no recommended routes for the tourists going to Shanhe Weir. Due to the fact that this scenic spot covers a relatively  small area, so it will not take visitors much time here and visitors can make their own decision with regard to the tour routes.

Shanhe Weir tickets

Free

How to get to Shanhe Weir

Travel Bus Hanzhong–Nanggukou at the Shanhe Weir Station

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