Attraction & Sightseeing In Xi'an
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Famen Temple is located in Famen Town 120 kilometers northwest of Xi'an. Although this Temple is a fair distance from Xi'an, it is a fascinating place with an intriguing history and it is worth making the effort to get here.
Legend has it that in 147 AD King Asoka of India traveled throughout Asia, distributing Buddhist relics as atonement for his sins and war like attitude. In China, he built this Temple and left the fingers of Buddha to be enshrined here.
Tang Dynasty Emperors revered this sacred relic and regularly walked through the streets with the fingers followed by a huge worshipping procession. The Tang Emperors offered wonderful gifts to the fingers in an attempt to better their predecessors offerings.
This legend was actually dismissed until 1981 when heavy rains revealed the crypt, shrine and underground palace completely by accident. The crypt contains the Buddha's fingers and gifts from the Emperors. The site is still seen as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists today.
The museum here is excellent and contains various objects from the Tang dynasty including sacrificial offerings and royal gifts.
Steles are huge stone slabs which depict important calligraphic writing, often dating back to ancient times. They are held in high regard in China and many people study the artistry of these mammoth pieces.
The Forest of Steles (Xi'an beilin) is located in the Confucian Temple on Sanxue Jie in Xi'an, this building was first built to preserve the Thirteen Classics of Filial Piety which were engraved during the Tang Dynasty.
A significant collection of Steles was gathered by the Qing dynasty and the building became known as the Forest of Steles.
Today, this is a professional art museum which collects, studies and displays various Steles and stone sculptures. if you are interested in Chinese art and calligraphy, there are some interesting objects on display here. If not, possibly give this one a miss!
Huaqing Hot Spring (huaqing chi) is situated 30 kilometers east of Xian at the foot of the Lishan Hills. The Springs were a popular retreat with Emperors more than 2500 years ago, many of whom enjoyed bathing in the perfectly clear mineral water.
Today this is a favorite site for Chinese tourists. In fact, there is not a great deal to actually see here, but the history behind the area is very vivid and colorful!
Legend has it that the pools were fully established here in the Qing dynasty. The most romantic story that accompanies the history of the springs is that of the Chinese equivalent of Romeo and Juliet; the story of the Emperor Xuan Zong and his concubine Yang Guifei. Yang was a poor girl who the Emperor took a fancy to and promoted to the position of "lady".
Legend has it that he was so enamored by her beauty that it distracted him from his daily work. The Empire was being threatened and the courtiers threatened to kill the concubine, blaming her for the Emperor's mismanagement of his nation.
Desperate and madly in love, Yang hung herself to save the country and her lover's name. The springs were renamed the Huaqing or "The Fair" springs, in honor of Yang Guifei's beauty.
There are numerous classical style buildings at the site and many frescoes decorate the walls here. It is usually very busy, as the story of Yang Guefei is very popular with the Chinese. Today, visitors can bathe in the 43 degree C water.
There is a "Hot Springs Bathhouse" which is rather like a private bathroom in a five star hotel. More atmospheric and cheaper too is the communal bathhouse.
Opening hours: Daily 8am-7pm.
The Lintong Museum is just up the road from the Huaqing Springs. This is actually a more interesting site than the Springs and many travelers prefer to move swiftly from the springs to the museum.
This local museum displays a varied collection of over 10,00 relics, from the stone age up to the Qing dynasty housed in an attractive classical building with red pillars and winding corridors.
This was also the site of the Xi'an incident in 1936 when Chang Kaishek's own troops arrested him. Chang was made to sign an alliance with the Communists against the Japanese at a spot which is today marked by a small red pavilion near the museum.
Mount Lishan is on the north side of Mount Qinling and at its highest peak reaches 1256 meters above sea level.
The shape of the mountain is said to resemble a horse, hence the name which translates as "Black horse Mountain".
The mountain first became a popular retreat during the Tang Dynasty when the Emperors enjoyed climbing (or more likely being carried in their sedan's!) up here and taking in the wonderful view, the Hot Springs and the various statues and pavilions en route.
On the east of the hill is also the spot where the Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Lady Yang made solemn promises to love one another for ever!
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