La Seine Art Hotel
No.17 South Main Street, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710001, China
More about Xi'an
Great Mosque building
The "rabble bunch"
train or bus from chongqing to xi'an
I would like to know about trains or buses from Chongqing to Xi'an, the fares, and how long would it take. By the way how different between hard and soft sleeper. Thanx
Re: train or bus from chongqing to xi'an
I have written sveral reviews of Chinese trains.
Try www.travelchinaguide.com for English timetable of Chinese trains. Buses are more difficult to get info online.
BIG difference between soft and hard class. Soft class is a great way to travel. Hard class can be your worst nightmare, but is also a great way to meet very large numbers of people.
Travel Tips for Xi'an
All at Once
Right inside Xi’an, the visited factory (I couldn’t read its name) is clearly tourist oriented.
In a single pass you may see the work in most of Chinese crafts, from silk to wood, and… buy.
Or to check the qualities and prices to buy elsewhere.
Good food is at the nightmarket. Freshly made in front of your nose. You might have to move during your meal, because your table is a little too far out on road. The police comes by and orders the foodplace-owners to move the tables back in place. But all of this can't take away the atmosphere and good taste of the food.
The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta army was thought up by an Emperor that did not want to follow the historical trend of taking an live army into his toom with him when he died. When they were originally made, they were also painted in the colours of his army. To this day, some warriors still retain scraps of this colour.
Just after the warriors were made, there was a revolt. The peasants broke into the toom, ransacked it for weapons and then burnt everything that they could. The warriors that can be viewed today have been painstakingly rebuilt from broken terracotta that is scattered around the site.
In the first picture you could see that the warriors are in ranks between walls. The walls have been left there by the archiologists' to protect the surrounding area. If you ever visit this place, don't just look at the statues that are on full display. Also try looking out for the rear end of a horse sticking out from a wall!
Although first recorded in 742 there has been a muslim presence in Xi'an for many years before this. Since the beginning of the Silk Road there has been trade between China and the Persians and other middle eastern countries. Many muslim merchants stayed in China to establish their businesses. In the following 1200 years the community has gradually melded with the local but has kept many traditions. This is especially noticeable in the food stalls in the busy narrow lanes - meat is threaded onto skewers and barbecued and served with spicy sauces and flat bread. The traditional full dress for women is sometimes seen but most often just the headscarf.
As you travel through the narrow lanes full of stalls selling the same items as you will find in the rest of Xi'an you would be forgiven for not realising that you are in fact in the home of a minority people - the Hui community. Even the Great Mosque is heavily influenced by Chinese architectural style.
The Great Mosque - Part 2
The entrance to the final courtyard is through the Phoenix Pavilion, a hall-cum-gateway with beautiful details and carvings. A Ming inscription stating simply "One God" sits above the central entrance. The pavilions and halls either side of the entrance were also used by visiting dignitaries, and now hold a variety of unlabelled religious artefacts.
The large, final courtyard is overshadowed by the wide, flat terrace on which the main prayer hall sits. A kindly old man greets visitors, and any expression of interest (or greetings in Arabic) will bring volumes of excited descriptions of the mosque and the Xi'an Muslim community. It is not possible to enter the mosque building itself, unless you are a Muslim entering for prayer, but it is supposed to be a spectacular structure inside, with 600 classical scriptures across the ceiling, written in the form of grass and flowers. Around the walls, the entire Koran is inscribed on wooden boards, mainly in Arabic script but a few in Chinese as well.
Anywhere in the world, mosques form a unique and universally spectacular form of architecture, and it is no surprise that Xi'an's mosque is probably the finest single building in the city, and its courtyards the most refreshing and pleasant gardens.
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