As Tyler said, after a quick 12 hour train ride from Beijing to Xian, we began our field work here.

For those who do not know, Xian, or Chang'an, was the ancient capital in China. Over 10 dynasties ruled from here. The city was renamed Xian or Western Peace, after the capital was moved to Beijing. Today Xian has over 100 universities and is growing.

After we freshened up at our hotel (which is absolutely gorgeous) we began our tour of the ancient capital. Our first stop, the Xian City wall. We climbed the steps to the wall and then biked around it. All 13km of it. The wall was simply incredible. You could see the evidence of the city's past, as well as it's future, as an industrial hub. The view was spectacular. If you're going to go to Xian and only do one thing make it the bike tour of the city wall.

Next we went to lunch, where we learned how to make dumplings. The restaurant that we did this at makes their dumplings unique because the filling of the dumpling is mimicked in its shape (duck filling meant that the dumpling was duck shaped). For the record, the duck was my favorite!

After lunch we toured two museums. The first was an art museum which focuses on art related to Xian. We also got a second calligraphy class; this time Tyler and I received the best marks for our characters. The museum also focused on local artists. Next we journeyed to the Shaanxi History Museum. There we learned about the different dynasties that ruled the area. The main focus was on the Qin, Han and Tang Dynasties.

Our next stop took us to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is a Buddhist temple in the heart of Xian. It used to be taller but time, a earthquake and the Cultural Revolution made it shorter. Today it stands 7 stories tall. We climbed to the top of it and had some impressive views.
Next it was dinner and we were in for a treat. We had hot pot, which is where you cook all of your own food, such as mutton, eggs, vegetables etc. and then dip them in a sauce and eat them. It was delicious and a bit mess.

The next morning it was time to go again. We ventured to the Banpo Museum which houses a Neolithic village that was located in Xian. The museum was really interesting especially for those of us who do not know a lot about the Neolithic period. Not to mention we got to pose with some tribesmen models.

Afterwards, in anticipation of our trip to see the Terra-Cotta soldiers, we went to a ceramics factory. We saw how the soldiers would have been made and also how they would have been painted. They also had some beautiful furniture there too!

Next we went to the Terra-cotta soldiers and they were incredible. It was amazing to see something that we all have heard about since we were little in person. This was what Kelsey was most excited to see and it did not disappoint. The soldiers were built as a way to, hopefully, make the dynasty last longer. But as we know, the first Emperor of the Qin dynasty, who was also the first Emperor of China, died after less than 20 years on the throne. His dynasty in 206 BCE and then the Han Dynasty came to power. This was an amazing experience. We saw all three open pits.
At night we headed down to a night
market and did some shopping. It was a lot of fun to experience some different parts of the city. Not to mention, we had a stunning view of the city wall decorated with lights.

Anyways, now we are off for our last full day in Xian. It should be a busy one. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thank you for reading - Tori
 


Tyler's Mom
05/14/2013 3:11pm

Good job on the calligraphy Tyler. Anyway we can get it to count towards your GPA? Lol. Looks like you guys are having a great time in a beautiful country. We are all enjoying the posts and the beautiful pictures.... but Tyler can you stop being such a camera hog I'm sure the other parents would like to see their children's pictures. Lol Have fun guys and we will see you soon. Hard to believe your trip is half over.

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