X is for.....

Xi'an! (Thanks, boss, totally wouldn't have had a place for this letter without your help.)

Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and one of the oldest cities in China with more than 3,000 years worth of history. It is one of the four great ancient capitals of China having held the position under several of the most important Chinese dynasties. The city is the start of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Warriors.

Xian at Night

The remnants of the ancient world are still visible all around the city, from the city walls, to the Terracotta Warriors, to the Muslim influence.

The city walls were first built in 194 BC, and lasted for merely four years. The existing wall was built by the Ming Dynasty in 1370. It is one of the few cities that still have it's walls, though parts of it have been restored. You can walk around the walls for around four hours, or even cycle from the South Gate, if you wish.

xi'an city walls

You should visit the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, it's probably one of the most underrated attractions in Xi'an. Less visitors than at the Terracotta army mean you get a better chance to appreciate what you're seeing. The site's divided into two sections: the museum and excavation area. The museum has a large amount of terracotta figurines, around 50,000 were buried, they originally had movable wooden arms- though those have now gone- and were dressed in silk robes. Inside the excavation area are 21 narrow pits which have been covered with glass so you can walk across them. It's believed there are 81 burial pits here.

clay relics Xian, China

The Army of Terracotta Warriors is probably the most famous archaeological find in the world. The life size army of thousands has stood watch over the first unifier of China's soul for more than two millennia. Archaeologists believe that either Qin Shi Huang was afraid of vanquished spirits coming to find him in the afterlife or, more likely, that his reign would continue in death as it had in life. The site is so famous that it's many unusual attributes are well known, particularly that no two faces of the warriors are the same.

Pit 1, Museum of Terracotta Army, Xi'an, China (3)

Have you been to Xi'an and seen the Terracotta Army? What did you think?

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