Tag Archives: attractions in Xian

The Great Mosque of Xian: A Mixture of Muslim and Chinese Architecture

The Great Mosque in Xian is a mixture of Chinese and Muslim Architecture. This was created in 742, in the middle of the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was the immediate consequence of the introduction of Islam to the Chinese.

Courtyard of the Great Mosque: Where you can see the stone tablets

This is one of the biggest place of worship for the Muslim in China… it contains a big prayer hall and a courtyard (where I took a lot of pictures).

This place was really old and when you see it in person, you will realize that it is untouched by modern hands—It wasn’t renovated and seems pretty old and seems dangerous. But, the oldness of this place is what makes it much stunning. The place makes you go back in time and really see what it looks like centuries ago.

The Courtyard

The untouched architecture is astonishing. It is old.. yes… but it is beautiful… Maybe, I can say, that all the things that I have seen in China, this is the place I really liked, due to the gracefulness and beauty of this historical place

Behind us is the praying room

I don’t have words to compensate how beautiful the place is. I might just understate whatever this place can offer you. This might be small (unlike various palaces in Beijing) but the art and the old architecture will compensate for such deficiency.

Moreover, upon going to this place, you will be passing a market usually run by Muslims. You can buy souvenirs there, but be careful, they might just pester you like other Chinese do. When I say pester, they might follow you until you buy their product…

Nonetheless, If you know Chinese and how much the real thing cost, then buying in the market is a good catch.. You can visit the market and the Great Mosque in one sitting 🙂

How to go here DIY?

Admission Fee:

  • 25CNY, 175PHP, 4USD (March-November);
  • 15CNY, 105PHP, 3USD (December-February)

Transportation:

  1. You can go ride a taxi (it is just near the city center
  2. Take bus Take bus 4, 7, 32, 201, 215, 222, 251, 252 or Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station. Walk to the Drum Tower and find entrance to the mosque in the Huajue Lane to the northwest of the Drum Tower.
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Huaqing Hotsprings: A place where the Emperor once took a bath.

Huaqings Hotspring is our last and final stop during our 2 day Xian trip. Due to the unexpected intense heat that surrounded Xian that day, we almost decided to skip this attraction. The thing we didn’t know was that this place is an astonishing opportunity to see the extravagance of Emperors and their concubines.

It was during the Tang dynasty that this palace was created. Stating that this is a historical place is an understatement. It has 6,000 years of history wrapping each wall and every corner of this marvelous attraction.

Entrance of the Huaqing Hotspring

Upon entering the gates of this Huaqing Hotspring I found myself dumbfounded, I didn’t know that this is such a serene and picturesque place. I learned from my previous research that this was the bathing place of the emperors and their concubines but I didn’t imagine it to be such a grand and charming place. Now I’m murmuring to myself “I wanna be an Emperor of China!”

Near the entrance is a  man-made lake with floating water-lilies, while palace pavilions greet you with their usual lively colors. Walking further, you will find a white statue of a woman looking reserved yet exudes a beautiful vibe.The statue seems to invite you to dip your worn out feet in one of the bathing area of this wonderful place.

yang guifei
the statue of Yang Guifei

That statue depicts  one of the four most beautiful women in the Tang dynasty. She is Yang Guifei one of the concubines of the Emperor. She is the most loved concubine among them all.

the emperor's bathing area

Our tour guide brought us to three bathing areas. The first one was said to be where the Emperors dip their body in the naturally heated water. The second was said to be where the concubines have their skins rejuvenated and the last was where the officials nearest to the heart of the emperor enjoys the utmost treatment.

the concubines' pool
the pool for officials and head chef

One thing I noticed, was the three bathing areas are connected with each other, the water flows down to the Emperor’s down to the officials’ bathing area. So, whatever dirt was scrubbed down from the Emperor’s skin will be conferred to the other two bath areas… But before, it wasn’t a problem, since they believe that touching the Emperor is like touching God… so I think the officials and the concubines never complained on such kind of setting (because if they complain I think they will go directly to heaven… )

other view of the hot springs (in the right corner, people are drinking water from the hotspring since it is said to have healing powers)

This is one of the oldest Hot Springs in China and one of the revered beautiful places in the country. I think, this is one of the place which a person shouldn’t miss, especially if visiting Xian. It is said to be part of the 100 most beautiful gardens in China.

Moreover, it also gives you a glimpse to the history and the way of life of the emperor, empresses and the concubines.

My Mom and the beautiful Huaqing Palace

By the way, the lake transforms into a stage during a performance… I just forgot to take a close-up picture of it. I don’t know if this is the lake or other lakes in the area.

By the way, the Emperor who is very in love with Yang Gufei, took a bath here more than 30 times! 🙂

How to get here DIY? (acdg. to Travel China Guide)

  • Admission Fee: CNY 80  P560.00 $13 USD (Dec. 1 – the end of the next Feb.);
  •                              CNY 110  P770.00 $17 USD (Mar. 1 – Nov. 30)
  • Performance Fees : CNY 218-988 P1526-6916 $35-$160 (The performance of The   
  •                              Song of Unending Sorrow)
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00pm

How to get here:

  • From Xian,
    1. Take Tourism Bus No.5 (306), the special route bus from Railway Station to the Terracotta Warriors via Huaqingchi Station, at the East Square of Xian Railway Stationand get off at Huaqingchi Stop.
    Bus fare: CNY6
    Estimated Travel Time: 45mins.
  • 2. Bus 307 from the south gate of Tang Paradise to Huaqingchi Station.
    Bus fare: CNY 7
  • 3. Bus 914 and 915 also run to Huaqing Hot Springs and Terra Cotta Warrors, but they are not suggested to take.
    From Lintong, Take bus 5101 from Lintong Bus Station to Huaqingchi Stop.

The Terracotta Warriors: An Army of A Dead King

During our 2nd day in Xian, we went to the Terracotta Army and Horses Museum.

The Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang

I think you are familiar with those action movies where people goes to the tomb and then  raid all of the jewelries or treasures inside;  and then suddenly, the statues which looks like human beings were awakened; then the people got scared and the warriors started to fight those tomb-raiders… Have you seen or watched this kind of situation? If yes, then, one of the most depicted “living” warriors are these set of man-made army in Xian, China.

Well, we traveled from Beijing to Xian to see this wonderful man-made creation. I really wanna see this because I always heard that the Qin Dynasty is one of the greatest and grandest dynasty in China. Moreover, as a moviegoer especially of Asian films I always heard of Qin Dynasty (The Myth portrayed by Jackie Chan etc.). I was enchanted by these movies and I wanna to see this in person.

The Terracotta warriors museum is a sight to behold! although majority of the collection has no heads or has broken pieces, it is still a beautiful and an education place to visit. Just always remember that there’s a 2000 year old history that wraps each and one of the terracotta bodies you will find there.

Terracotta warriors in Pit 1

This warriors remained unknown for humans for the past centuries and only until the 1970s that it was discovered. But, it wasn’t discovered by archaeologists and instead they were discovered by farmers who are digging for their water supply.

The funny part is the farmers ran away as soon as they saw the faces of these warriors. The farmers got scared; since during those times, the Chinese believed that any sculpture with a face of a human is considered evil and/or creations of the devil. And they also believed that once you saw this kind of sculpture, you will face death anytime after the encounter… That is why they hurriedly left and didn’t bother about it for sometime. Until one of the farmers who originally saw it, went to the government and showed what they discovered. And then, archaeologists and tourists alike became interested in this heritage left by China’s 1st dynasty.

There are 3 pits that have been discovered by the Archaeologist, and now, it is open to the public.

In the Pit 1 where a lot of these warriors can be seen is a wonderful sight since most of them are excavated; and there are a lot of warriors that are standing. And you can also see that the archeologists are doing their best to piece up the broken pile of these warriors. It is kind of long walk in this pit, but it is worth it.

In Pit 2 and Pit 3, you won’t see a lot, only some broken chariots or places where the chariots once stood. There are a lot of broken arms and body found on that pit.

Don’t expect to see 2000 warriors lining up to you when you get there. In Pit 2 and Pit 3 and some on Pit 1, other warriors are still unearthed because the archeologists says that if such will be done, the warriors will be damaged due to oxygen and such. So, most of the things you can see are earth and dust which is formed like huge anthills. Now, It all depends on your imagination to visualize what is beneath that surface.

Moreover, you will see only a few that are still standing (with their whole body), maybe 500 of them (this is a mere estimate). Almost all of the warriors were already damaged. But don’t worry the archeologists are doing their best to make them whole again.

What makes it more interesting is on how the warriors are sculpted…our tour guide David, told us that they are modeled from one and each of the soldiers during the Qin dynasty. They are modeled from real human beings. They are made in a process that they are all unique, no terracotta warriors are alike, they are all different.

They are made in order to guard the tomb of the emperor who had unified China for the very  first time (which, is Qin Shi Huang). That man is a great person although extravagant, just like the Empress Dowager Ci Xi 🙂

Well. What really scared me was the fact that there are still warriors with their original paint in them.  what I mean is that they are still well-preserved even after 20 centuries. Like the archer which is now inside a glass (it is also in the museum), has still its red paint on it. Please take note that these warriors are not plain brown when they were buried; they are painted with lively colors.

Can you see the red paint on the lower back corner of the warrior? Amazing Isn't it?
With the Terracotta General

Moreover, our tour guide said that the archeologists believe that there are more of them out there, and they are waiting to be discovered. Just like the Qin tomb (tomb of the great Qin Shi Huang) is still closed, and archaeologists are dying to find a way to open it.

CONCLUSION
1. Well, I say I can recommend you guys to come visit this place, especially if you are the history buff like me. But if you are going to this place without knowing what it is, or if you have folks that does not like history, or Children who are 2-4 years old. well, you better pass first and visit some other place in China. Since the place is still undergoing development, you might not know, that years from now, Emperor Qin’s tomb will be open to public and more of the warriors are unearthed or pieced back together.

2. But if you have the time and money to go here, then why not? This is a good experience since you will have a glimpse of a 2000 year old history. This is the real deal of 2000 years old history since the Great wall of China you see in Beijing is not. The Chinese claim that the Great Wall has 2000 years of history but it is not, It was made during the Ming dynasty, the real great wall which should be 2000 years old was the one built during the Qin dynasty which is already gone since it was just made of soil. The great wall you see now is still history but the terracotta warriors is an older history which is worth the visit

3. well I still recommend going to this place but if you don’t have money and time, you can visit it some other time, but if you are going to China for a long vacation, try this and it won’t disappoint you

TIPS:
1. Wear Comfortable shoes and clothes! You will do a lot of walking
2. There is a bus going to the warriors museum in front of the railway station, it is cheap. I think it travels every hour, it costs about 5-10USD.
3.There is this distance from the bus stop to the gate of the museum, you should walk since there is no other way. Bring with you a water jug or any water
4.You have a choice to go to the museum after you’ve reached the gate of the museum, it is either to walk or to ride the golf cart. The golf cart ride has a price but it is just less than 5USD as far as I remember
5. Go to Pit 3 first, then 2, then 1. Going to Pit 1 will just ruin your awe for the other Pits since pit 1 is the best among the three
6. Watch in the cinema theater which features the history of this warriors if you don’t have any idea what you are looking at
7. The food buffet there is nice, try it, but I don’t know about the price since mine is part of a package tour
8. ALSO, go early in the morning and weekdays and make sure it is not holiday so that there won’t be a lot of people around
9. Bring a camera, with lots of lots of batteries!
10. Make sure to have a good night sleep!
11. Visit the nearby areas, we also went to the hotspring of the emperor nearby (sorry, I forgot the name)
12. ENJOy!

WELL, this is all I can do for you, if you have questions you can contact me. Hope this helps!