Surrounded by ancient stone walls, Xi’an is one of the most historically significant cities in China, and home to one of its greatest tragic love stories. With a large Buddhist and Muslim population, there are Indian and Arabic influences all across the city. Let Chinatour.com lead you on a tour of this ancient and beautiful city!
One of the few cities in China that still has its ancient walls standings, the Xi’an City Walls were built in the 14th century during the Ming dynasty. Many of the walls have been restored or rebuilt, making it possible to walk the entirety of the wall in about 4 hours. If you’d rather bicycle, there are plenty for rent (weather permitting), or you can see the walls on a chauffeured golf cart. There is also a beautiful park around the perimeter of the walls that gives a different perspective, and at night the walls are lit up, creating a breathtaking image.
If you’re looking to experience the beauty, art, and music of the Tang dynasty in an innovative way, then there is no better place than at the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. The show tells the real life love story between the Emperor Ming of Tang and his concubine Yang Guifei and her tragic end. After escaping from the palace during an uprising, the Imperial soldiers, hungry and bitter, insisted that Yang’s family were to blame and had them killed, and insisted on the death of Yang Guifei herself. The Emperor reluctantly agreed, and mourned her the rest of his life. The stage show tells this beautiful and tragic story through music and dance, with designs based on traditional Tang dynasty works of art.
On the grounds of the Jianfu Temple is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, one of two famous pagodas from the Tang Dynasty. Built in the seventh century by Emperor Zhongzong, the pagoda suffered damage in the 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake, cutting it down from 45 meters to 43 meters high. Pilgrims brought sacred writings from India to be translated into Chinese at the pagoda, widely known to be one of the main centers in the area for translating sacred texts. Today the grounds of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda are free of admission and open to the public. However, if you want to climb the inside of the pagoda, you will have to pay to do it.
The second of the famous pagodas of the Tang dynasty, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was originally built to house Buddhist sutras brought back from India by the monk Xuan Zang. This larger pagoda was also damaged in the 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake, reducing the pagoda from ten stories to its current seven. The pagoda is still home to monks and considered a sacred place for Buddhists, with the pagoda on the grounds of the Da’cien Temple.Around the pagoda are beautiful gardens and squares, especially the North Square with the largest musical fountain in Asia. The area today is much more modern, with restaurants, shops, and galleries to the south, and even a monorail.
One of the largest mosques in China, the Great Mosque was founded in the eighth century, though most of its buildings are from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The architecture of the mosque is a blend of traditional Chinese with Islamic influences, such as a minaret hidden in a pagoda, and the turquoise ceilings of the Prayer Hall. The mosque is located in the Muslim Street district and has enough space for 1,000 worshipers. The surrounding courtyards are open to the public and landscaped in a traditional Chinese way, including a spirit wall to hold off demons, pagodas, and arranged rocks. In the second courtyard is a stone arch flanked on both sides by steles; the steles are covered in calligraphy from famous calligraphers Mi Fu and Dong Qichang.
On an island surrounded by traffic in the center of Xi’an is the Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Constructed in the fourteenth centuries, the bell in the Bell Tower was rung at dawn, while the drums in the Drum Tower were sounded at nightfall. The bronze-cast bells are relics of the Tang dynasty, and musical performances are still held in the Towers six times a day and are included in the price of admission into the Towers. Inside the Drum Tower is a museum of drums, some of which are thousands of years old. Access to the Towers can be found in the underpass on the north side of the Towers.
One of the most significant and magnificent archeological finds in the world, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an is made of thousands of soldiers, officers, and horses, all constructed out of terracotta. They were created for the burial of China’s first Emperor, Qin Chi Huang, who conquered the nearby Warring States and united them into the King of Qin. He expected his reign would continue even after death, and ordered the army be created to serve him in the afterlife. The site was found in 1974 by locals drilling a well, and one of the most remarkable features of the soldiers is that no two of the faces are the same, implying that they were all handcrafted. Today the site is open to the public with your choice of audio or live guide, and you can visit the 3 pits, with Pit 3 being the largest, with 2000 terracotta figures on display in marching formation.
On this 9-day tour, you will experience some of the greatest cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou. Tour the Forbidden City, walk along the Great Wall of China, or peruse the Lingering Garden. Paired with delicious local cuisine, this tour will be one to remember.
This cruise showcases our favorite cuisines and programs: Two complimentary special dinners, the Peking Duck Dinner and Imperial Dumpling Dinner. Our favorite special programs are all included: Hutongs Tour and lunch with a local family, Bicycle Ride on the 600 year old Ancient City Wall, Boat Ride on the Grand Canal, and the Tang Dynasty Stage Show.
As usual, Chinatour.com welcomes you to bring companions and customers to join you on this trip and earn commissions.
The President 8 cruise ship we are using commenced her maiden voyage in 2013 is the one of the newest and largest cruise ships on the Yangtze River and provides the environment for every passenger to enjoy their Yangtze River journey.
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