Sep 02 2011
Stay Together Like Sticky Rice
This week our group travelled to the ‘ancient’ city of Xi’an. Here lies the first capital of China and remained so, on and off, for over a thousand years. I use the word ancient with some conditions here. The majority of the city is neither ancient or even old. Construction, run down buildings, and plain ole dirty city streets dominate Xi’an. There are two ancient sites here, the Terra-cotta Army and the Inner City.
All the kings horse and all the kings men are putting these guys back together again
Humpty Dumpty would be jealous! Emperor QinShihuang’s Terra-cotta army was created over 2,200 years ago to ensure his continued reign in the afterlife. Since their discovery in 1974 Qin’s army has been put back together again for the world to see and it was amazing to experience. And when I army i mean an entire army of foot soldiers, archers, crossbowmen, chariots, calvary, acrobats, civil officials, and generals. On the downside I do recommend waiting about 10 years before you visit. Of the three Pits discovered only Pit 1 has any soldiers to see. Pits 2 and 3 are only partially excavated and the few soldiers they did uncover have been removed. Flick’r is full of pictures just for you guys!
Jade & The Inner City
After the Army we moved into town to visit a fade emporium and learned some interesting jade facts. For instance, Jade comes in two colors, green and lavender. Jade is also never free of imperfections. When you hold it up to light real Jade is translucent and shows balls of white or grey. There are also two types of Jade. Green Jade is found in mountains and rivers, while lavender and green are found only in river beds.
The city of Xi’an, like most larger cities, is surrounded by a rather large wall. Running 14 kilometers in circumference the wall is the only complete city wall left in China. It is surrounded by a moat and is impressive in both it’s scale and architecture. Inside the walls the city lives up slightly more to it’s ancient classification. The Muslim Quarter is small but interesting. The pictures show that there is not a single outside influence in architecture here, no minarets or copper roofs. About 30 seconds from the famous Mosque are the infamous street vendors. Haggling was fun but the merchandise is of low quality and you spend all your time guarding your bags from thieves.
Overall the trip was very good. And I hope everyone enjoys the photos!