|Xi'an Travel Information|
|Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses|
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County, Shaanxi province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had work begun on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211 --206 BC).
The State Council authorized to build a museum onsite in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994.Archeologists cameupon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses. Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.
Located at the eastern outskirts of Xian city, the Banpo Museum is the first on-site prehistoric museum in China. Banpo site is a typical Neolithic Matriarchal community of the Yangshao culture ( 5000-3000 BC) around 6000 years ago. About 400 sites of this type have been discovered around the Yellow River Basin and the Banpo site is the largest one. The site was discovered in 1953 when constructing a power factory and the excavation work last four years from 1953 to 1957. The Banpo site was first opened to the public in 1958 and since then, two million people have visited it.
The Banpo site, occupying an area of
approximate 50,000 square kilometer, was divided into three parts,
residential area, pottery-making area and cemetery area. Among the ruins
are 46 dwellings, 2 domestic animal pens and over 200 storage pits, 174
adult tombs, 73 burial jars for kids, 6 pottery-making kilns and many
production and domestic tools. The site delivers visitors a vivid picture
of the lifestyle of the primitive Banpo people a very long time ago.
Children's Burial Jar
Fish and Human Face Design Pottery Painted
The Pointed-Bottom Bottle
|Xi’an Beilin Museum|
The Stele Forest, or Xi'an Beilin Museum, is a museum for steles and stone sculptures which is located in Xi'an, China. In 1944 it was the principal museum for Shaanxi Province on the site of what was formerly an 11th century Confucius Temple. Then because of the large number of steles, it was officially re-named as the Forest of Stone Steles in 1992. All together, there are 3,000 steles in the museum, which is divided into seven exhibitions halls, which mainly display works of calligraphy, painting and historical records.
The Stele Forest began with the Kaicheng Shi Jing Steles and Shitai Xiao Jing Steles, two groups of steles both carved in the Tang dynasty and displayed in the temple to Confucius in Chang'an. In 904, a rebel army sacked Chang'an, and the two stele were evacuated to the inner city. In 962, they were again moved to the rebuilt temple to Confucius. In the Song Dynasty (1087), a special hall, with attached facilities, was built to house and display the two Stele groups. It was damaged in the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake during the Ming dynasty.
It houses nearly 3000 steles and it is the biggest collection of steles in China. Most of its exhibits are steles of the Tang Dynasty. Ink rubbings of the steles are available for sale. Among the unusual examples is a 18th-century stele depicting a Yangtze River flood control project. Another appears to be a bamboo forest, but on examination the leaves and branches form a poem.
|Shaanxi History Museum|
Completed on June, 1991 and officially opened to the public ever since, Shaanxi History Museum covers a land area of 65000 m2 with the exhibition area amounting to 11000 m2. Constructed in the style of Tang architecture “the central halls surrounded by high towers”, the large and elegant buildings have integrated the ancient architecture with modern technology. The Museum houses a collection of more than three hundred and seventy thousand pieces of precious cultural relics, large in quantity, complete in variety and high in grade. Among the treasures the mural paintings collected from about 20 tombs of Tang Dynasty account for approximately 1000 square meters, ranking No.1 among the Chinese museums.
Shaanxi History Museum, which located to the northwest of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in the ancient city Xi'an, in the Shaanxi province of China, is one of the first huge state museums with modern facilities in China. The museum houses over 300,000 items including murals, paintings, pottery, coins, as well as bronze, gold, and silver objects. The modern museum was built between 1983 and 2001 and its appearance recalls the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty.
Built as a last wish of former Primer Minister Zhou Enlai, Shaanxi History Museum was constructed from 1983. It was opened to the public on 20 June 1991. The museum is in an area of 65,000 square meters, with a building area of 55,600 square meters, cultural relics storerooms of 8,000 square meters, exhibition halls of 11,000 square meters, and a collection of 370,000 objects. The museum is architecturally in the Tang style, with a "hall in center, storied buildings in corners". It is elegant and dignified, on a large scale, with a combination of traditional architecture and modern technology, which embodies folk tradition and local features.
Shaanxi has been the imperial capital since ancient times, and more than 13 feudal dynasties built their capitals there in history including Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang. The province is rich in cultural relics. With the completion of the Shaanxi History Museum, it collected over 370,000 precious relics which were unearthed in Shaanxi Province. The bronze wares, pottery figures, and mural paintings in Tang tombs, etc., are all artistic treasures.
Since the opening of the museum, it has followed the policy of collecting, conservation, publicising, education, and scientific research, using its many historical relics, and conducted various types of display. The relics have also been exhibited overseas in cities in Japan, France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and other countries and regions.
Near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Tang Paradise is located in the Qujiang Resort, southeast of the Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province. It is a newly opened tourist attraction in April, 2005. Tang Paradise covers a total area of 1000 mu (about 165 acres) and of which 300 mu (about 49 acres) is water. This tourist attraction not only claims to be the biggest cultural theme park in the northwest region of China but also the first royal-garden-like park to give a full display of the Tang Dynasty's (618-907) culture. Altogether, twelve scenic regions are distributed throughout Tang Paradise to provide visitors with the enjoyment of twelve cultural themes and a perfect exhibition of the grandness, prosperity and brilliance of the culture of the Tang Dynasty.
What makes Tang Paradise incredible is that it is no longer the garden mode of only water and mountains in the Chinese traditional sense. The outstanding designers of the magnificent Tang Paradise have integrated almost everything representative of the Tang Dynasty, such as the poetry, the songs and dance, the marketplaces, the food, the women's lifestyles, and science into every site using cultural themes, thus endowing every place with its own story and its own place in the tapestry of Tang Dynasty culture.
In the large number of buildings at Tang Paradise, one may see almost all architectural types of characteristic of the Tang Dynasty. In addition there are establishments for relaxing and song and dance shows about the civilization of the Tang Dynasty. Strolling in Tang Paradise, you are assured to get a full enjoyment, making you feel as if you were in a fairyland.
Many firsts are created here: the first and largest scale of buildings modeled on the Tang style in China, the first and most considerable groups of sculptures to show the poetic culture in the Tang Dynasty in China, the first and biggest single architecture modeled on the Tang style throughout China, the first theme park in China to cater to the five sense (vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste), the grandest fragrant project of the outdoors in the world, and the most spectacular water film on earth. Tang Paradise is praised as 'Garden of History', 'Garden of Spirit', 'Garden of Nature', 'Garden of Human Culture' and 'Garden of Art'.
The most special and amazing feast in Tang Paradise is taste. The word 'taste' here does not refer to the delicious smell of food, but means that the whole Tang Paradise, like a fair lady, is full of aroma. Unbelievable, isn't it? But definitely true! You may wonder why. The secret is that there are incense burners here. Every few meters on both sides of the paths in Tang Paradise, there is an incense burner which looks like a street lamp. It is only 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) tall with incense coils burning inside. It is this fragrance that makes the whole place seem like mysterious Xanadu. Thus wherever you walk in Tang Paradise, assuredly, you can be embraced by its faint redolence.
In Tang Paradise, another surprising man-made wonder is the water film which claims to be the foremost in the whole world. The screen of the movie is a film of water; thus it can create a special kind of optical effect which makes the frame tridimensional. When watching the movie, you can witness that the beautiful night and the fan-like water surface become an ingenious integration. Every time the figures in the movie appear on the screen, it seems that they are flying to the sky or coming down from the heaven which throws you into a wonderful and illusory feeling that you were personally on the scene. Splendid, indeed!
|Huaqing Palace of Tang Dynasty|
Huaqing Palace has become famous for the love story about Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty and his imperial Concubine Yang. In the zone to the east Huaqing Hot Spring there is a horizontal tablet with the golden inscription “Huaqing Chi” (Huaqing Hot Spring) by Mr. Guo Moruo. There are buildings such Lotus Pavilion, Rosy Cloud Pavilion and Five-Room Hall and the tablet of Eulogy to the Hot Springs carved on the stone cliff has been rated as the masterpiece among the treasured Chinese tablets.
The middle zone houses the museum of the imperial hot springs of Huaqing Palace with the bathing pools named respectively as Lotus, Crab Apple, Prince, Retinue and Constellation, and there is also a room displaying the cultural relics. The west zone contains the Nine-Dragon Bathing Pool, the Rosy Cloud Palace and the large mural painting titled “Concubine Yang Yuhuan receives the imperial edict at Huaqing Palace”.
Every night the show, the large-scale historical play of its kind in China, titled Everlasting Regret is performed here with the real mountain and water as background. And with reference to the original location and appearance, the show vividly illustrates the love story about Emperor Xuanzong and his imperial Concubine Yang.
|The Big Wild Goose Pagoda|
Big Wild Goose Pagoda, situated in the Da Ci'en Temple, is one of the famous Buddhist pagodas in China about 4 kilometers from the urban center. Originally built in 589 A.D. in the Sui dynasty, the temple was named Wu Lou Si Temple till 648 A.D. when Emperor Li Zhi, then still a crown prince, sponsored a repair project on the temple. This was a symbol of thanksgiving to his mother for her kindness, after she had suffered an early death. The temple then assumed the present name Temple of Da Ci'en (Thanksgiving). The Emperor Gaozong was said to pay homage to the temple twice a day by looking in its direction from the Hanyuan Palace. The temple, with 13 separate courtyards, contained 1,879 magnificent-looking rooms altogether and was a place of grand extent in the Tang dynasty. However, it went into gradual decay after the downfall of the Tang dynasty. The halls and rooms that have survived the age are structures that were built in the Ming dynasty.
The Tang Regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures in an effort to have the then widely renowned Master Xuanzang (Monk Tripitaka) agree to be the head of the temple.The Wild Goose Pagoda was finished in 652 A.D.Its five storeys are 60 meters in height. The decay of the earth-cored pagoda caused the new construction of a 10-storey pagoda from 701 to 704. However, the winds of war, in the years to come, reduced the pagoda almost to ruins, which in turn resulted in the construction of a 7-storeyed, 64-meter-high structure today.
The pagoda was an architectural marvel. It was built with layers of bricks but without any cement in between. The bracket style in traditional Chinese architecture was also used in the construction. The seams between each layer of bricks and the "prisms' on each side of the pagoda are clearly visible. The grand body of the pagoda with its solemn appearance, simple style and high structure, is indeed a good example of ancient people's wisdom and talent.
Pictures of the Heavenly King and of Buddha are on the doorframe sand horizontal bars on four sides of the pagoda's base. These stone sculptures display peak workmanship, and show vivid shapes and smooth lines. They now serve as an important source of material for the study of painting and sculpture of the Tang dynasty. Out of these artistic works, the one on the horizontal bar of the west door is the most precious. It is a rare piece of art, now used for the study of the Tang architecture. Inside the temple where the pagoda is situated, there are two small buildings: the one on the east side houses a bell, and the one on the west side a drum. The bell, an iron cast from the Ming dynasty, weights 15 tons. Together with the drum, the bell was used to strike time for the monks in the temple.
Inside the Great Hall of the Buddha in the temple there are three incarnations of Sakyamuni. The one in the middle is called Dharmakaya. The one on the west side is called Bao Shen Buddha, and the one on the opposite is called Ying Shen Buddha. In the Doctrine Chamber stands the Amitabha Buddha. On the wall at the east side of the chamber, there are three rubbings. The one in the middle is called Xuanzang (Monk Tripitaka) carries the Scriptures to Chang'an. In the Tang dynasty, every successful candidate who passed the imperial examinations would have to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and wrote poems and inscriptions there. This ritual would symbolize a soaring career in the future. The fashion of writing poems and leaving inscriptions on the horizontal bars over doors and stone frame-works by successful candidates of the imperial examinations went on as far as the Ming dynasty. These poem sand inscriptions have survived till this day as a fine mirror to the city's past.
|Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor|
The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor, memorial mausoleum of legendary Yellow Emperor, is the most important ancient grave site in China. After many years' development and construction, the mausoleum became not only a mausoleum, but a key point of interest for historical Chinese culture. The main sights in this scenic spot are Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor and Xuanyuan Temple. Before visiting this location, one should know about Yellow Emperor in detail.
Yellow Emperor, the initiator of Chinese civilization, was a great tribal leader in the final primitivesociety of ancient China. His family name was Gongsun. Because he grew up at Xuanyuan Hill (in Xinzheng County of Henan Province), he was called Xuanyuan. He worshipped the virtue of the yellow earth (the source of foods and clothes); hence people call him Yellow Emperor. It is said that 5000 years ago, Yellow Emperor cooperated with Yandi to defeat the Chiyou tribe, then unified the other tribes and established the Hua Xia nationality (the former name of the Chinese Nation).
Yellow Emperor was able to make weapons, vessels and vehicles, and to raise silkworms. He and his contemporaries created the characters, instruments, medicines and counting systems etc, which ended the savage and wild period. Yellow Emperor is remembered in history for punishing evils and for the first unification of the Chinese Nation. It is said that Yellow Emperor lived for 118 years. Once during his tour in Henan Province, a yellow dragon fell down from the heaven after a thunderbolt. The dragon said to Yellow Emperor: 'Your task is finished. You should follow me to heaven.' Yellow Emperor knew he could not disobey destiny so he rode on the dragon. As they flew over Mt. Qiao, Yellow Emperor asked to be allowed to go down to comfort his country. People cried out and came here; they pulled on Yellow Emperor's clothes to try to keep him on earth, but it was in vain. He only left his clothes. Afterwards, people buried Yellow Emperor's clothes here and established the mausoleum. Some writings claim Yellow Emperor himself was buried here.
The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is the tomb of Yellow Emperor, hidden inside the dense evergreen cypresses on Mt. Qiao (Bridge). Mt. Qiao won the name because it looks like a bridge. More than 8000 cypresses on Mt. Qiao, most alive for thousands of years, form the largest old cypress forest in China. The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is called the First Mausoleum of China and is located in the center of the top of Mt. Qiao, 1 kilometer (about 0.6 miles) north of Huangling County, Yan'an City. Covering an area of 4 square kilometers (about 1.5 square miles), The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is surrounded by a verdant forest and clear water. When you reach the top of Mt. Qiao, a stone stele will first catch your eye. In front of the mausoleum is a pavilion, where stands another tall stone stele displaying the characters of 'Huangdiling'. Then you see the tomb of Yellow Emperor. It is a 4-meter-high (4.4 yards) mound, around which is a 1-meter-high (about 1.1 yards) brick-wall.
In Chinese history, many emperors held memorial ceremonies to Yellow Emperor. About 40 meters (about 43.7 yards) ahead of the tomb is a platform called 'Hanwu Xiantai', where Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24) held ceremonies honoring Yellow Emperor. Longyu Pavilion is a remarkable structure in the tomb area. Its fanciful architecture stands 5 stories and 20 meters (about 21.9 yards) high, and tourists may walk up steps to overlook Mt. Qiao and Huangling County. Since Longyu Pavilion is the highest point in the tomb area, it is also used for spotting fires. When you climb up Longyu Pavilion, you may clearly see Mt. Yintai, located to the south of Mt. Qiao. The shape of the mountain reminds one of a big Yintai (great seal), so people call it Mt. Yintai. Interesting sights on the east and west hillsides are abundant: the mazes, forests and clear waters here feel secret, deep and remote. Another interesting view is that of Mt Qiao from the top of Mt Yintai.
Xuanyuan Temple is also named the Temple of Yellow Emperor, established in the Ming Dynasty (1368 --- 1644). The main structures inside the temple are Temple Gate, Chengxin Kiosk, Stele Pavilion and 'Renwen Chuzu' (Huangdi, the initiator of Chinese civilization) Hall. Inside the grand 'Renwen Chuzu' Hall, Yellow Emperor's seat of spirit tablet (an exquisite piece of wood with his name on it) is worshipped. People can do obeisance or hold ceremonies in front of it. Among 14 cypresses in the courtyard, the must-see ones are two: the cypress planted by Huangdi and the Jiangjun (general) cypress. It is said that Yellow Emperor planted the cypress thousands of years ago to encourage planting of trees and forestation. Now the huge green umbrella is 19 meters high (about 20.8 yards) and is the oldest cypress in the world. There is another legend about the Jiangjun cypress that says Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty ever hung his visor on the pine, so people call it Jiangjun cypress. It is also a rare type of cypress. Situated in the west portion of the Temple of Yellow Emperor is the Gongde (merits and virtues) Altar, the theme of which is the outstanding achievements of Yellow Emperor. Gongde Altar is a round platform with three concentric cylindrical walls on which embossed characters describe Yellow Emperor and his country's contribution to human progress. The altar is surrounded by 33 stone steles (representing 33 provinces of China) called China Tongxin (meaning 'with one heart') Stone Steles, symbolizing the solidarity of the Chinese Nation.
Yellow Emperor made great contributions to Chinese civilization and the role of China among the four ancient civilized countries in the world. Today, the Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor, the center of magnificent cultural activity in China, is the symbol of Chinese civilization and the 'root' of the Chinese Nation. For thousands of years, every Tomb-Sweeping Day swarms of people have come here to hold a memorial ceremony to Yellow Emperor.
The Xi'an City Wall is not only the most complete architecture well preserved of ancient Chinese burghs but also the largest in size and integral ancient military fort of the world. During the transition period from spring to summer in 1997, US President Clinton took the first stop of his China journey in Xi'an and sang high praise for the ancient city wall and the gates.
Early before founding the Ming Dynasty, when Zhu Yuanzhang seized the control of Huizhou, a hermit called Zhu Shen advised the ambitious general should "build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor". Zhu Yuanzhang accepted his proposal and ordered local governments all over the country build city walls as much as could after he spreads his power covering the whole country.
Therefore the ancient Xi'an City Wall came into being on the original base of the capital of Tang Dynasty, in the heat of constructing under the Chief Commander Pu Ying's supervision. The Xi'an City Wall augmented in Ming Dynasty measures 12 meters high, 12 to 14 meters wide on the top, 15 to 18 meters wide at the bottom with a total length of 13.7 kilometers. There is a watchtower in every 120 meters, outstanding with a same height leveling with the wall to help soldiers kill enemies that are climbing the wall.
Half of the length between every two ramparts is just in the effective range of defense's arrows, which can easily kill the attackers from their side. There are 98 ramparts in total and each has a sentry building to accommodate troops. Due to the backward weapons of ancient time and therefore the gate provided the only way to enter the city, rulers of every period all put their emphasis on the gate. There are four ancient gates on east, west, south, and north of the burgh. Each has three gates belonging to the main tower, the arrow tower, and the Zhalou tower.
There are 5,984 battlements on the outer side of the wall. Crenel of the battlement can provide protection for soldiers to let off arrows and keep watch. The short wall on the inner side of the wall is the parapet, without crenels to prevent soldiers from falling down. There is a suspense bridge in front of the gate. Raising the bridge means, the way to enter the city or go out are cut out. In the Ming Dynasty the fort had become an grand and precise defense system and now is still a better ancient fort kept intact than any other.
The ancient Xi'an fort has not only displayed the Chinese talent showing in military construction but also provided valuable information to study history, military developments and architecture structure. The gate is of great importance to the defense systems of the city but is a weak part in strategy. In peacetime, it provides a way to relate the two areas separated by the wall and in wartime becomes the first target that both sides want to control.
Consequently, someone placed a special defense emphasis in Ming Dynasty as surrounded by a wide and deep defense channel. The defense channel measures 20 meters wide and 7 meters deep with a defense wall of 2 meters high on the inner bank. There is a roll-up gate, this is regarded as the breakthrough of defense-tech and improved the defense effectiveness greatly.
Time passes quickly and things happen every day, it is common to see something be treat differently in different times. In early years, those ancient walls regarded as the obstacle to the modernization of the city, but now it is the pride, which brings great honor to the old city as the light of honor absorbing historical accumulation. The ancient city wall and the city gates are not only the shining stars of history but also historic wonders attracting tourists.
At a height of 2,160 meters above sea level and about 120km/3hours east of Xi'an, Huashan, literally translated as Flower Mountain, is a sight for sore eyes. The mountain has for centuries been deemed as one of China's five sacred mountains (Wu ye), along with Hengshan Mountain to the northeast, Songshan Mountain and Taishan Mountain to the east and another Hengshan Mountain to the southeast. Huashan, also known as the Western Mountain (Xi Yue) due to its geographical location in relation to the others, is famed as the most precipitous of the five.
Along the 12km path leading from the foot of the mountain, where it starts at the Jade Fountain Temple (Yuchuan si), to its five peaks, you will get the chance to see some impressive scenes, including the strangely shaped granite peaks and the twisted pines, that make up this, one of the lesser visited of the holy mountains. The peaks from above are said to resemble the petals of a huge plant, with the middle peak as the corolla, hence the mountain's name. Of the five peaks it is the southern peak (2,100 meters) that is the largest, closely followed by those in the east and west. The ascent provides not only natural scenery, but also a number of man-made constructions that, for better or worse, are now a part of the mountain's tourist culture.
The route to conquer the peaks passes by temples, shrines, pavilions, terraces, carvings, statues, food stalls and hawkers, that appear interspersed between the stark granite paths and forested margins. Along the Green Dragon Ridge (Bilong ji), which connects the northern peak with the remaining peaks, the way is cut along a narrow rock ridge with steep cliffs on either side. Some of this route can be a little dangerous, despite the iron chains that are linked on the more precipitous sections. As one of the five best-known mountains in China, Huashan Mountain is located to the south of Huayin City, 120 kilometers east of Xian, in Shaanxi Province, with an elevation of 2200 meters above sea level. In ancient times, Huashan Mountain was called Taihuashan Mountain. Seen from afar, the five peaks look like five petals of a flower. Hence its name, Huashan Mountain(= five flowers). Today, it is listed as one of the renowned national scenic spots.
Huashan Mountain is famous for its breath-taking cliffs. Along the 12-kilometer-long winding path up to the top are awe-inspiring precipices, looking into which will take your breath away. Among the five peaks, East Peak (Facing Sun Peak), West Peak (Lotus Peak) and South Peak (Dropping Goose Peak) are comparatively high. Standing at the top of East Peak, one can enjoy the rising sun early in the morning. West Peak, in resemblance to a lotus flower, is the most graceful peak in Huashan Mountain. In addition, there are Middle Peak (Jade Maiden Peak) and North Peak (Clouds Stand). The middle peak got its name because of a story telling that once a young lady rode a white horse among the mountains. North Peak, like a flat platform in the clouds, is the place where the story Capturing Huashan Mountain Wisely took place.
Huashan Mountain boasts a lot of places of interest. Here and there stand Buddhist and Taoist temples, pavilions and buildings as well as sculptures and engravings. Of the ruins, Yuquan Temple (Jade Springs), Zhenwu Palace, and Jintian Palace are, comparatively speaking, famous. Xiyue Temple, seven kilometers north of Huashan Mountain is the place where people of ancient times paid tribute to the Mt. Huashan God. Along the cliff of South Peak is a planked path equipped with an iron chain, with the help of which, adventurers can walk on the frightful path.
There is a giant rock in front of Cuiyun Palace on West Peak. As it takes the shape of a lotus flower, the mountain is also called Lotus Peak. As legend has it, Chen Xiang, a filial young man, once split the mountain and rescued his mother out of it. Now a crack can be witnessed in a giant rock beside Cuiyun Palace as if an axe made it. Thus, the rock is called 'Axe-splitting Rock,' beside which is a huge axe with a long handle. The northwest side of the peak is called Fatal Cliff for it is as steep as if it was cut by a sharp sword. North Peak, with cliffs on three sides, has only one road leading to the south. From here one goes south to Ca'er Precipice, the fourth most dangerous place along the only path in Huashan Mountain. The cliff path is less than 30 centimeters wide, and faces such a deep valley that the tourists have to edge along carefully. Then one comes to Sky-leading Ladder, Sun and Moon Precipice and the well-known Blue Dragon Mountain.
East Peak, with a rising-sun platform favorable for viewing the morning sun, is also called Facing Sun Peak. As the sun emerges from the sea of clouds, one cannot help but show great admiration. Every year one can take advantage of the best visiting times through May to October. At the foot of Huashan Mountain there are a variety of restaurants where comfortable accommodation is available. As well, one might be refreshed in the restaurants on Qingke Stand, South Peak and North Peak as well as in temples, big or small. The area of Huashan Mountain specializes in gingko, thatch weaving and traditional paper-cutting. The shops are mostly at the foot of the mountain, where one can rent walking sticks, gym shoes, warm clothes, electric torches and so on.
Hukou Waterfall located at the intersection of Shanxi Province and Shaanxi Province, some 400 kilometers from Xian, is the second largest waterfall in China. The mighty Yellow River, the second largest river in China, surges its way from Qinghai Province to the border of Shanxi and Shaanxi Provinces where it suddenly finds its way through a narrow valley, blocked in by mountains. The riverbed abruptly narrows down from 300 meters to 50 meters, turning the placid water into rapids.
The tremendous weight of water splashes onto the rocks, forming a magnificent waterfall, 15 meters high and 20 meters wide, as if the water is pouring down from a huge teapot, hence the name Hukou(‘mouth of teapot’). The scene can be overwhelming, water stiring up masses of smoke and cloud, colors turning from yellow to grey, grey to blue. The locals call this awesome scenery ”smoke from the river”.
|Taibai Mountain National Forest Park|
Lying at the north foot of Taibai Mountain (the peak of Qinling Mountain), Taibai Mountain National Forest Park, is located in Meixian County, Shaanxi Province. Covering an area of 7,287 acres, 94.3% of which is covered with forest, it contains 10 scenic districts and over 180 attractions. Since its height above the sea level varies from 0.39 miles to 2.18 miles, Taibai Mountain National Forest Park is the highest national forest park of China. It was officially established in 1991 and has been formally open to the public since July, 1992.
Taibai means 'too white' in Chinese, used here to describe the color of the mountain. Because of the cold climate in the mountain, thick layers of ice have always been covering its summits all the year round. Endowed with prosperous forest resources, rich animal species, odd mountainous physiognomy together with its profound historical scenes, Taibai Mountain National Forest Park has attracted countless tourists from home and abroad.
Titled as the 'Asian Natural Botanical Garden' and the 'Natural Zoo of China', the forest park has more than 1,850 kinds of seed plants and over 1,690 kinds of insects and animals, including more than 230 kinds of birds and over 40 kinds of beasts. Among them are some rare animal species, such as pandas and golden monkeys. Thanks to this natural advantage, the park is also considered to be an inartificial gene warehouse of natural species.
Lively Mountainous Scenery and Wonderful Hot Springs
Traveling in the mountain, visitors cannot help but admire the unique appearance of the rocks and the streams joyfully tottering along the winding mountain road. Your eyes will be stricken by the continuous chains of mountains, while your ears will be pleased by the melodious song of the running water. Unconsciously, you will find yourself absorbed in the beautiful natural scenery. Another wonder of the park is its natural mineral water. There are abundant supplies of terrestrial heat in the low mountainous area in the park. The temperature of the hot spring can reach as high as 72 degrees centigrade (162 F) and it contains scores of mineral substances and microelements that are beneficial to people's health. There are also three lakes and several pools on the mountain top called Daye Hai, Erye Hai, Sanye Hai, Yuhuang Pool and Star Pool respectively.
Profound Historical Sights
Charm is added to Taibai Mountain National Forest Park by its profound historical sights. Historically, Taibai Mountain has received recognition from many emperors in past dynasties. Plentiful cultural relics, poetries and folklores have been left through generations. Many Chinese ancient poets, such as Li Bai, Du Fu (the two most prominent poets in Tang Dynasty (618 - 907)) and Su Shi (a famous poet of Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127)), traveled here and wrote some of their notable poems. There is also plenty of ancient architecture in this park, including 14 sites of temples, 32 ancient houses, 5 stone steles, 10 iron tablets, over 110 iron Buddha statues, 64 woodcarvings and several iron bells and furnaces.
Taibai Mountain National Forest Park is a fantastic place for visitors to find relaxation and refreshment. With respect to its climate, it is better to travel here in July and August, but do not forget to bring a cotton coat and rain gear. Traveling by ropeway (with a length of 0.68 mile) gives visitors the chance to appreciate the marvelous spectacle of glacier relics and sea of clouds.
|Qinling Zoological Park|
Qinling Zoological Park is the first park of its kind to be established in the northwest region in China. 28 kilometers (about 17 miles) south of the downtown area of Xian City, Shaanxi Province, this zoological park has more than 300 species of animal, with many different types of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Strolling into the park, the first thing that catches your eyes is a group of wooden sculptures facing the gate. They have been made to resemble lifelike and dainty human beings, eagles, black bears, monkeys and other creatures, and tell different stories about 'man and animals' and 'man and nature'. And looking at these beautiful and unforgettable sculptures, you would hardly guess that they've been made from petrified wood. It is the wonderful skills of the gardeners that endow these deadwoods with life again. The animals' exhibition area is divided into two parts: the walking area and car-riding area.
|Qujiang Ocean World|
Qujiang Ocean World The Western Largest Ocean Theme Sight. The western yellow land, mainly in reddish brown and orange and overflowing with the soul of Great Tang, is dipping into the ocean blue. For Qujiang, the Qujiang Ocean World enriches the tourism items, advances the culture of the city, and impact the blue of the yellow land. It is the continuation and illumination of spirit of Great Tang, and also another explanation to feature of Xi’an culture. "Seawater moistens Chang'an, the Qujiang Ocean World is a largest modernized education base for ocean science and technology in northwestern region, a window for communication between human and nature, and a bridge for people to get a knowledge of ocean, to understand life, to concern nature, and to love life. Qujiang Ocean World, together with Tang Paradise and Tang Sleepless Town, has jointly realized the combination of history and modern of Qujiang section, and amalgamation of appreciation and experience, making the tourism in Qujiang with bearing and pattern of accepting hundreds rivers.
The project of Van Qujiang Ocean World locates in the center scenery spot of Qujiang new district, very close to Tang paradise and north of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It is made up of three parts: ocean hall, ocean rhyme plaza, and ocean business chamber. The ocean hall, the core of the project of Qujiang Ocean World, has got an investment of about RMB210 million with a body construction area of 18,600 square meters, Outside it, as its matching establishment, the ocean rhyme plaza includes performance plaza, water surface sight, and establishments for business, food & beverage, leisure and entertainment, with an area of 30,000 square meters and an investment of over RMB 30 million. In addition, it also includes the second phase project of ocean business chamber, and polar region world, etc. The ocean business chamber, a project that has been started, has got an investment of about RMB 150 million with a construction area of over 30,000 square meters. It is planed to start operation from early of 2006. At present, the polar region world has been started to construct, which will become the largest-scale polar region-experiencing project in the country, with an area of 30,000 square meters planed to open from May 1, 2006 .
On February 5, 2005, during the spring festival days in year of chicken, Qujiang Ocean Hall began to open up to public. Since then, the hall can receive 120,000 person-time visitors every month because of desire of people lived on the yellow land for the blue sea. In the bizarre and motley ocean world, visitors can appreciate over 300 species and 12,000 kinds fresh water and seawater creatures, and feel the broad and profoundness of the ocean. Besides its outside appearance, exposition originality, top five scale in domestic ocean world as well as exposition level, you can also fully enjoy yourself in the blue ocean world composed with its establishments, including dolphin performance hall, Ocean science popularization hall, tropic rainforest hall, seabed tunnel, grand garden of seabed, as well as matching service establishments for food & beverage, retail of ocean gifts, interactive entertainment items, etc.
Ocean Rhyme Plaza
Entering Qujiang Ocean World, you will find you are facing the Ocean Rhyme Plaza with an area of 30,000 square meters and an investment of RMB 30 million Yuan. In the sea breeze and under the light, the colorful square music fountain combines with the gorgeous performance stage, putting yourself in this place you will feel you are in heaven .the magnificent exhibition hall is reflected in the blue wave undulates over 10,0000m2 artificial lake, the ocean looks to be even bigger.
Ocean Science Popularization Hall
Wandering about in the ocean hall, listening to the professional teacher narrates ocean knowledge, you can learn all kinds of ocean knowledge, the kids can make samples with their own hands, observe the growing process of ocean creatures, and watch some rare animals perform on the stage. The ocean hall has a floor area of 400 square meters, 400 kinds of ocean creatures and a national first rate protected animal, Bushi whale witha 13.5 meters long body, are displayed here. There are 150 seats in the science popularization room, through high-tech 3D cinema introducing and publicizing ocean creature protection, tourists can learn ocean knowledge here.
Tropical Rainforest Hall
The tropical rainforest, full of primitive and natural landscape, is scattered and embellished with the evidences of mankind's activities, forming culture cave series to the point. With the evidences, tourists may trace back to the stories that once took place in the rainforest, which provide visitors with infinite fantasy room and profoundly create mysterious and primitive atmosphere. Listening to varieties of sounds in the rainforest, observing the animals and plants done by uncanny workmanship, and touching the impossible in mind are all available to you. This is the world of species, which is full of unknown and unlimited expectation with provision of shocking sights and funny hunting. The tropical rainforest exhibition adopts high-tech directory method to demonstrate the multiformity of the species and to show the marvelous nature. The exhibition is divided into five areas by theme, 1. Secrete out of remote antiquity 2.Wonder of rainforest 3. Man and nature 4. Exotic flavor 5. Wandering in the future.
Secrete out of Remote Antiquity Real objects and space, with the metaphor of origin of species, demonstrate a great deal of unknown in dinosaur age by synthetic approaches so that the whirligig of the time is shown, which precedes the rainforest area's coming. For the diversified approaches served, you may as an adventurer experience the civilization and antiquity or life and history such as: erupting volcano, dinosaur excavation site, emulatiional dinosaurs, emulational elephants, and emulational giant spiders etc, illustrating the once giant speciesage to the tourists. Wonder of Rainforest The wonder of rainforest adopts versatile demonstrating ways, from animal and plant to sound, light and electric, andapplies the plants' growing shapes such as parasitism, buttress and symbiosis, integrated with the environment of animals, insects and birdsto show the symbiosis and coexistence of diversified creatures in the rainforest.
The game for braver, with deadwood and stream, snake worm appearing and disappearing and rain drizzling, make you feel much moreexciting. Backdrop painting further decorates the scene and enhances the effects. Human and Nature The crocodile, a kind of ferocious and ancient amphibian animal, is provided in luminous atmosphere for visitors themselves to feed with small chicks, thereby to perceive the rare scene. Exotic Flavor Mysterious Mayan civilization and additional totem, delicate embossment group, suspension bridge, decks in the woods and so on are full of exotic flavor. And the rainforest pub serves the tourists with relaxed and romantic tastes. Wandering in the Future Wandering here while appreciating the dreamlike scenery, bizarre transgenic animals and ornate pompons, people will be called forth the infinite fantasy about future.
Dolphin Performance Hall
Enjoying elvish dolphins, simple and honest sea lion, huggable seal all this draw children' laughers and relaxations of adults' childishness…… Since its opening to the public, Dolphins performing world is always the most popular zone, inside of which can hold 1680 people, the intellectual performance of dolphins, sea lions and seals always draws chipper laughter of the audiences. Under the guide of domesticators, the intelligent dolphins like the excellent water ballet dancers. Sky loop-leaping, singing of dolphins, calculating and ball-holding all this draw the applause of audiences, especially the interactive stage of the dolphins’hugging and kissing makes audiences unforgettable. The ridiculous performance of the simple and honest sea lions not only ball tipping and shooting but also ballet and break dancing also very exciting.
270º Seabed Tunnel
There are over 10,000 various ocean fishes at the 80m-seabed tunnel and the splendid seabed world exhibits clearly to the audiences. Staying here, your mind will drive away, you can enjoy coral reef, fishes and their living conditions. The ancient wrecked ship at the seabed reproduces the struggling history; in this sea world, you can enjoy reef and rock, visual seaweeds, freely swimming of various fishes and ocean animals, at the same time appreciates the wonderful seabed world.
The seabed tunnel has over 90 kinds of fishes and animals with the quantity over 5000 from different parts of the world, of the creatures among which, you will appreciate formidable ferocious sharks, fluttering rays and other halobios with different features .the over 300 kinds of aquicolous wildlife with over 12,000 in quantity will slow your paces in the seabed world. In the process of appreciation, you can self feed wildlife, dive into seabed and swims together with fishes, at the same time, really experience that human can so closely touch with halobios and live harmoniously with them.
Entering into ocean theatre, it seems the real ocean world around you, where a huge glass window seems showing the story of the ocean world, the lighting weaver, the teetering of elder turtles, the shuttling cruise of formidable sharks. Especially, the mermaid show of actual people will drive you to the visional fairyland, following her wiggly tail fin; you can freely rush into the ocean with her
Grand Garden of Seabed
Among colorful, various featured coral reef, clustered garibaldi swim elegantly and the dollish fish named "Nimo‘ seems very merry. In the quality fish jar, there are some man cultivated colorful mini coral aquatic animals, such as sea horses, jellyfish sea flowers and live corals. In the touching pool, there are fishes like "horseshoe crab", "starfish" etc, which can be touched without distance. Acrylic glass column-shaped jars, whose diameter ranging from 0.3 meter to 2.4 meter, are arrayed in an upward order in the route way to the coral ocean, looks like some pearls beset in the viewing route. Rare fish like devil cannonball", yellow fox" and "poisonous eels" attract tourists to come here and enjoy themselves.
The Great Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China and its location is northwest of the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane. According to historical records engraved on a stone tablet inside, this mosque was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This was a result of Islam being introduced into Northwest China by Arab merchants and travelers from Persia and Afghanistan during the mid-7th century when some of them settled down in China and married women of Han Nationality. Their descendants became Muslim of today. The Muslim played an important role in the unifications of China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Hence, other mosques were also built to honor them.
In Xian, it is really well worth a trip to see the Great Mosque, not only for its centuries-old history but also for its particular design of mixed architecture - traditional Muslim and Chinese styles. Occupying an area of over 12,000 squaremeters, the Great Mosque is divided into four courtyards, 250 meters long and 47 meters wide with a well-arranged layout. Landscaped with gardens, the further one strolls into its interior, the more serene one feels.
The first courtyard contains an elaborate wooden arch nine meters high covered with glazed tiles that dates back to the 17th century. In the center of the second courtyard, a stone arch stands with two steles on both sides. On one stele is the script of a famous calligrapher named Mi Fu of the Song Dynasty; the other is from Dong Qichang, a calligrapher of the Ming Dynasty. Their calligraphy because of such elegant yet powerful characters is considered to be a great treasure in the art of handwriting.
At the entrance to the third courtyard is a hall that contains many steles from ancient times. As visitorsenter this courtyard, they will see the Xingxin Tower, a place where Muslims come to attend prayer services. A 'Phoenix' placed in the fourth courtyard, the principal pavilion of this great mosque complex, contains the Prayer Hall, the surrounding walls of which are covered with colored designs. This Hall can easily hold 1,000 people at a time and according to traditional custom, prayer services are held five times everyday respectively at dawn, noon, afternoon, dusk and night. Mosques in China, this Great Mosque is the only one open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Non-Muslims, however, are not admitted to the main prayer hall or during times of prayer.
In China, many temples house treasures and artifacts, but the sheer quantity and quality of treasures in the Famen Temple are rare. Situated in Famen Town of Fufeng County, about 120 kilometers (about 74.57 miles) west of Xian, Famen Temple is renowned for storing the veritable Finger Bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha. Famen Temple was established in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25--220), for carrying forward Buddhism. The most representative structures in the temple are the Famen Temple Pagoda and Famen Temple Museum.
At the center of the temple is the 13-tiered octagonal pagoda under which it is said, a sliver of the finger bone of Sakyamuni buried. In 1981, subsidence of the pagoda led to reconstruction, during which, an Underground Palace was discovered unexpectedly in 1987. Many royal treasures and jewelry were found here-more than 2,000 pieces surrounded the Tang mandala (geometric designs, usually circular, symbolizing the universe). The most precious one is the veritable Finger Bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha. At present, this is the biggest Buddhist underground palace so far discovered.
From the grand architectural style, it is said to have been established in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). But why, and how such precious treasures were stored under the pagoda. Tracing back to a most flourishing time in Chinese history, formerly, Famen Temple was the royal temple during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and Tang Dynasty. Emperors in Sui and Tang believed that enshrining and worshiping the bone of Sakyamuni would bring riches and peace to the land and its people. So an offering of treasure to the finger bone was made, it was housed in the Underground Palace.
Due to the appropriate collection and further expounding of the cultural connotations of the treasures to the public, the Famen Temple Museum was established in 1987, which includes most of the precious treasures from the Tang Dynasty removed from Underground Palace, including gold and silverware, colored glaze ware, porcelain and silks. Owing to more and more tourists and their curiosity to the relics, two new exhibition halls were established in 2000. The exhibition area expanded from 500 square meters to 3,000 square meters, which well caters for the interest of tourists. Nowadays, Famen Temple, which is the most famous Buddhist temple, plays a sovereign role in Chinese Buddhism, and appeals to tourists from all over the world.