Xi’an: Pronounced She-ahn.
Thank you Andrew Goltra for contacting your co-worker to help us find a reasonably priced hotel within the walled city. And please let him know his directions to the terra cotta warriors were flawless.
Lifting heavily from Arthur Lubow at Smithsonianmag.com, I can tell you that in ‘March 1974, a group of peasants digging a well in northwest China unearthed fragments of a clay figure—the first evidence of what would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. Near the unexcavated tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi—who had proclaimed himself first emperor of China in 221 B.C.—lay an extraordinary underground treasure: an entire army of life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses, interred for more than 2,000 years.’ Ultimately, they expect to find up to 7000 warriors.
Also from the Smithsonian, “Over the past 35 years, archaeologists have located some 600 pits, a complex of underground vaults as yet largely unexcavated, across a 22-square-mile area. Some are hard to get to, but three major pits are easily accessible, enclosed inside the four-acre Museum of the Terracotta Army, constructed around the discovery site and opened in 1979. In one pit, long columns of warriors, reassembled from broken pieces, stand in formation.With their topknots or caps, their tunics or armored vests, their goatees or close-cropped beards, the soldiers exhibit an astonishing individuality.
A second pit inside the museum demonstrates how they appeared when they were found: some stand upright, buried to their shoulders in soil, while others lie toppled on their backs, alongside fallen and cracked clay horses.”
Lastly, in a cautionary tale, ‘on his deathbed the 49-year-old Qin Shi Huangdi decreed that his estranged eldest son, Ying Fusu, should inherit the empire. The choice undercut the ambitions of a powerful royal counselor, Zhao Gao, who believed he could govern the country behind the scenes. Once Qin Shi Huangdi died, Zhao Gao secretly managed to transfer power to Ying Huhai, a younger, weaker son. Ultimately, however, the scheme failed. Zhao Gao could not maintain order and the country descended into civil war.
The Qin dynasty outlived Qin Shi Huangdi by only four years. The second emperor committed suicide; Zhao Gao eventually was killed. Various rebel forces coalesced into a new dynasty, the Western Han.’ The moral of the story is you need strong leaders, not puppet regimes. Maybe that’s why we’re in not such a hurry to remove Assad.
Again, thanks to my cousin’s husband Andrew, we were able to find a reasonably priced hotel within the walled city. Plagiarizing now from WIKI, I can tell you, “The fortifications of Xi’an (Chinese: 西安城墙), an ancient capital of China, represent one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls. Construction of the first city wall of Chang’an began in 194 BCE and lasted for four years. The existing wall was started by the Ming Dynasty in 1370. It encircles a much smaller city of 14 square kilometres (5.4 sq mi). The wall measures 13.7 kilometres (8.5 mi) in circumference, 12 metres (39 ft) in height, and 15–18 metres (49–59 ft) in thickness at the base.
Kiran and I walked around half the wall one afternoon and took these photos.
There were some ancient drum-replicas that tourists could play. You know the intro drum beat to Terminator? BUM BUM BUM Ba-BUM! BUM BUM BUM Ba-BUM!!! I lit that square up with the theme song.
In a nod to my brother-in-law, I wanted to give him a pictorial shout-out, a Double Dragon kick pose. Tanveer, I recognize the arm pose is different from the game, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
During our underground river tour in the Philippines, Kiran got a tip from an Australian couple that Xi’an was the place to buy pink jade.
I gave myself a crash course in determining what is real jade and what is fake. I looked at upscale jewelry stores and studied bracelets that cost $1000-$50,000.
Xi’an marks the beginning of what used to be the silk road trading route. Muslim traders first started living in Xi’an over two thousand years ago. It used to be the largest city in the world, and currently up to 1/4 of the city remains Muslim, many people being ancestors if the original traders from thousands of years ago.
And on May 9th we took a bullet train to Beijing. I have some video of our train going 180 miles/hour, but the internet speeds in Greece won’t allow its upload, so the photos will have to suffice for now.