Attraction & Sightseeing In Xi'an
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Arguably one of China's most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta warriors (bingmayong) are among the top archaeological excavations of the 20th Century. The warriors have made Xian the big tourist destination that it is today and the wealth in this city owes much to their discovery.
This incredible collection of 6,000 men and their horses was actually discovered completely by accident by a group of peasants in 1974 who were digging a well! In a bizarre twist, the man who supposedly discovered them now sits in a hall at the site signing postcards of the stone army.
The warriors are over 2000 years old and were originally constructed to protect the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The Warriors are now housed in a huge airplane hangar and despite their fame and the throngs of tourists visiting the site, they are still incredibly impressive. These life size warriors stand on guard as if preparing for battle. Historians believe that these magnificent men were originally painted.
The paint has now worn and the original bronze age weapons (including swords, arrows and lances) that many of the soldiers carried only a few years ago, are now locked up away from public eyes. Although there are 6000 of the statues remaining, there were actually many more when the tomb was first built.
It is the scale of this collection that is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the site. The Emperor must have been an incredibly influential and impressive man to deserve this great protection even when he was dead! The faces of the warriors are said to be modeled on the artists who sculpted them and on the actual Imperial guards at the time.
Further discoveries were made in 1976 when another 1000 warriors and various other sculptures were dug up. Archaeologists also believe that there is possibly a larger and more impressive army still buried beneath the Emperor's tomb.
Photography is forbidden here and if caught, the guards will confiscate your film so watch out!
Opening Hours: 8:00-17.30
The Tomb of Concubine Yang is situated about 60 km. to the west of Xi' an. Yang Guefeis' tomb is situated near to Xianyang city which was the capital of China's first dynasty.
Although many of the tombs and the Famen Temple are a long way out of Xi'an, it is worth visiting these places if you have time. It takes a long day to see all the sights along this route and it's best to just pick a few of the more interesting tombs and Temples along the route and make the effort to see them properly.
Yang Guifei was the Emperor Tang Ming Huang's concubine who hung herself to save her lover's name and the empire. Yang's tomb is a popular spot with Chinese tourists and she is considered to be one of the most beautiful women ever to have lived. The story goes that when the Emperor took Yang into the gardens, beautiful flowers would shy away as they felt inferior in comparison to her beauty.
Until a few years ago, young Chinese girls would visit here on the third day of the third month in the lunar year, take some soil from around the tomb and mix it with flour. Popular belief holds that this "concubines powder" makes you beautiful if it is applied to the face. However, as the ground around the tomb began to disintegrate, authorities put a stop to this romantic practice by building a blue wall around the tomb! In the corridors surrounding the courtyard of the tomb, the work of numerous famous writers is displayed, depicting their views on this tragic love story.
Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00
The Xi'an City Wall is not only the most complete city wall that has survived in China, but it's also one of the largest and most complete ancient military systems of defense in the world. The city walls here were actually built on the fortifications of the Tang Forbidden City.
The military defense facilities here including the city wall, city moat, drawbridges, watchtowers, corner towers, parapet walls and gate towers once made up a complete city defense system.
Many sections have since been destroyed and the city walls are incomplete. The 14km of wall does not stretch around the entire city. You can get up on the walls at the east of the railway station and at the south gate adjacent to the provincial museum.
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