When I first came to China, I thought that I will do a lot more traveling. However, distances are quite big, the prices of fast trains are not so low and the route from my place to the Beijing railway station quite burdensome. Therefore I opted for only one bigger trip that includes famous cities of Xian and Shanghai.
After spending two days in Xian, I think it was a great decision to visit it. Xian has a big muslim population and beautiful mosques that are quite different than you are used to seeing. Muslim quarter is also a wonderful place to shop local products.
We were very happy with our accommodation where we were immersed into the vibrant food district where you could try numerous local specialities. My dinner on Sunday included mini potatoes, grilled octopus, rice desert, fried banana and a fresh pomegranate juice. I must admit that till now my experience with Chinese street food is quite good so I can only recommend it to you.
Vibrant Xian Walk
When talking about food, I have to inform you that Xian is quite famous for its dumplings. We had a chance to verify this thanks to our local friend who took us to a famous local restaurant with a view to the Bell Tower, one of the major attractions in Xian. The meal was delicious.
The Bell Tower
After the dumplings restaurant we went to see the Big Pagoda where we found lots of people enjoying on the fountains before it. The sunset atmosphere was really nice.
The Big Pagoda
After the pagoda we headed to the south gate of the Beijing city walls that are generally well preserved. These walls are lighted in the night and for me they represent the most beautiful Xian sight. The view from them in the evening is spectacular, do not dare to miss it. We were particularly lucky because we visited the walls during some spectacle next to them so we have enjoyed some music as well. We have also witnessed a Chinese wedding photo shooting there.
Chinese Wedding Photo Shooting
Near to the south part of the city walls you will also find many nice bars with live music.
The second day in Xian was reserved for a visit to the Terracotta soldiers. Actually, terracotta soldiers are only one little part of the underground city that was built as a mausoleum for the first Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang 210 BC. The army of app. 8000 soldiers is so special because none of the figures represented is the same, they all vary in terms of height, body constitution and face expression. The mausoleum was discovered by accident by local farmers in 1974, till then it was completely unknown and undocumented in Chinese written history. Big part of the mausoleum is still concealed, one of these parts is the tomb of the emperor himself that is filled with poisonous mercury that protects it from the unwanted visitors. As mentioned, the warriors are just one of the parts of the mausleum, other parts contain all the daily figures of the life such as state officials, acrobats…definitevely something that will impress you for a long time.
What I also liked in Xian is the fact that it was much cleaner city than Beijing and much easier to get arround, also traditional Chinese souvenirs like shadow dolls, wooden bracelets and other jewelry were much more affordable.