Shuyuanmen is a pedestrian street with shops and vendors selling traditional arts and crafts of local artists. It is located eastern side of the south gate. I was staying nearby and visited the street before leaving Xi'an on the same day.
Shuyuanmen is lined up with shop houses of architectural design dated back in the Ming(1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. They are truly remarkable. This neighborhood is greatly conserved not only the buildings, but the people. Artists and educators love to hang out in this neighborhood either showing off their talents in arts or appreciating others' works. On this street, you can find street artists to famous local artists with their own luxury art galleries. Unfortunately, due to stiff competition among local artists, many artists still struggle to get attention from the crowds as they have too many selections.
One of the reasons this street is famous among local artists and educators is because of Guanzhong Shuyuan (Central Shaanxi Academy of Ming Dynasty) as one of the leading academic institutions since Ming and Qing dynasty is located on this street. And it is so great that we can still see the ancient University bookstore on this street. Unfortunately, Guanzhong Shuyuan is not allowed for visiting.
In Chinese: 书院门， shu yuan men
Thanks to the Silk Road, traders from the Middle East travelled to China and along with trading various commodities, they also introduced Islam to China. Chinese Muslims became known as Hui and their community, known as Fangshang, settled around the Drum Tower where there are now 7 mosques in total. This settlement started during the Tang Dynasty and with a population these days of around 60,000 people, the Hui are considered a large community.
Emperor Gaozong, of the Tang Dynasty, officially agreed the practice of Islam in China in 651 and the construction of Mosques began in the areas in Xi'an where the Middle Eastern traders lived.
The Mosque Grounds are lovely to wander around, well landscaped and attractive. Despite the noise of the busy streets, once inside, the silence and calmness envelopes you.
The streets surrounding the Mosque are filled with shops and stalls all run/ managed by Chinese Hui. This makes it an interesting place to wander around and the variable food available to try/ buy is also very interesting.
A fabulous place to wile away a few hours.
I have Travelogues on my Xi'an page with photos of the mosque and the market area:
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/bf093/#ixzz1rsMpBk1t
Xi'an bastion walls stand at 12m high, 12m wide, 15-18m thick at the bottom, and 13.7km in length. There are 98 ramparts in total built every 120m with a watch tower at each 'corner'. The existing structure was built during the Ming Dynasty of the 14th Century and modelled on the earlier Tang Imperial Palace.
If the weather allows, it is worth hiring a bike to cycle around the walls - or alternatively, walk around some of it instead.
The rental bikes are certainly not the best you can hire - battered up old things that they are. However, other than potholes and people to avoid, the ride is relatively smooth and the views can be lovely. We had very bad haze on the day we went but still enjoyed being up on this very old wall getting some exercise!
1.5hrs is long enough to cycle the whole way around and if you keep a steady pace then you can stop for photo breaks anywhere.
Tip: take water...
Another Tip: if you use the bike cage/ basket to store your things whilst cycling, make sure it shuts properly because the cobbles make the bike rattle so much that things bounce out...an easy way to lose a camera for example...
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/145713/f3840/#ixzz1rsBMCihF
The San Yuan Cave lies to to the South of Hua Qing Pool, the north of Lao Mu temple, the west of East Garden and the east of Li Mountain Cableway. This is the first view if you have climbing from the west gate of Li Mountain Forest Park.
The Cave is quiet and seclude! there are buildings of Tang Style outside the cave. The God of Heaven God of Earth and God of Water palace are worshiped inside. It is also called : " Celestial Being Cave of San Yuan" There are four deep natural wind caves.
The wind blows out of the cave in summer and spring, it inhaled into it in autumn and winter. The marvelous speetacle is well-known.
The wind had been tested by medical experts, it contains many chemical substances and is good for health . People call it "God wind".
You are sure to enjoy the wonderful scene of " God Wind" if you visit here.
In Chinese: 三元峒 (San Yuan Tong)
Shang Shan Lake is a lake on Li Mountain surrounded by great view. The lake has green water with small fountain. This lake was build to beautified the overall view of the mountain, in other words, it is a landscape lake. Shan means a good heart. It names after a famous Chinese scholar, Leo Tzu's poem, as a person with a good heart is like smooth calm water on the lake, no intention to fight with anybody.
I noticed that the Chinese tourist like to view the Terracotta Army's site from far. The tour guide would explain to them why Emperor Qin had chosen the location for his place after death.
In Chinese: 上善湖 (Shang Shan Hu)
Fenghuo Tai or the Signal Fire Beacon being on the highest point of Li Shan was used as the signal point in battlefield to get help during Western Zhou Dynasty. It takes effort to walk up to the fire beacon with 2km steep steps and road. You can get a good view to see the other side of the Li Shan.
In Chinese: 烽火台(Feng Huo Tai)
After boarding Bus 306, the bus guide recommend us either to Huaqing Palace or Li Shan before heading to Terracotta Army site. Huaqing Palace is a historical site being the bath house for emperor, now converted into an important tourist attraction. Li Shan Mountain is mountain behind the Huaqing Palace. It is great for mountain walk, beautiful scenery, see Terracotta Army from far, and see the entire Huaqing Palace bathing lake. I choose to visit Li Shan Mountain because it is quieter than Huaqing Palace with Chinese tourists crowd. I took the cable car (Y35) to the mountain, and walked up to Signal fire Beacon, then walked down to passby attractions including Lao Mu Temple, Shang Shan Lake, San Yuan Cave and etc.
Lishan Mountain, a renowned tourist attraction in both ancient and modern times in China, has an elevation of 1,302 meters above sea level. It is an isolated fault-block mountain--- a horst, formed by raised block from the Weihe rift trough when extension of the Earth's crust during the period of Late Yanshanian. The Lishan Park is representative with rift and horst, which covers an area of 63.23 square kilometers. Geoheritage site in the park are dominant in fault fracture zones and fault breccia. Some most famous cultural scenic spots are also situated in Lishan Park, including Signal fire Beacon that was built in Western Zhou Dynasty (1066-771 B.C) and given a legend that "Baiting feudal lord with signal fire costs a whole country for a smile", the Mother's Temple for offering sacrifices to "n u wa" who created humans in Chinese mythology and the Remonstration Pavilion built for remembering the Xi'an incident that happened in 1936.
Admission: Y70 per adult.
In Chinese: 马丽 山 (Li Shan)
One of the famous temples in Li Shan is " Lao Mu Temple. It was originally built in the first year of Guang De in the Tang Dynasty (763 A.D).
In Chinese mythology, Lao Mu was said to be the greatest Goddess in the ancient god tree. Lao Mu and Yan and Huang Emperors were called " Three Emperors", the Earliest and Creative gods, with countless merits and virtues. She "made men out of soil", hence she created the Chinese Nation; She established the marriage system, hence she made the humanity could rerpoduce; she passed on the materpiece "Yin Fu" of scriptures in Taoism; She invented "Eight Treasures" to normalize, the human relationships and morals. Lao Mu was respected as the most sagacious celestial being, the supernatural being, widely worshiped among the people. Lao Mu Temple has a history of more than one thousand years and is particularly famous for its yearly "Solemn Assembly" in June.
The temple was rebuilt in its former site last year, with the architectural style of Tai He.
In Chinese: 老母宫 (Lao Mu Gong)
In your escorted tour, you have to be taken to factories. Can’t escape!
Accepting that, if you may choose, do pick something like this. The factory itself is an old place with a classical atmosphere and its separated ateliers show, at once, several arts, almost everything.
Of course, you need t check prices - I didn't!
We were amazed at what we saw on the other side of the City Wall. As the tour bus took us the 30km to the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum we passed this industrial area which had many power plants, most likely gas powered.
Make your own mind up as to pollution. If you look closely at the 3rd photo you will see a man pulling a cart through the water.
In the 4th photo (very blurred) you will see a man fishing in this industrial area.
In the heart of the Muslim Quarters is the Great Mosque, which is a blend of traditional Chinese and Islamic architecture. China has a very small percentage of Muslims living there, with the Great Mosque being a place they can worship and lead their religious life. The Great Mosque's construction began in 742 and it is indeed an impressive place to visit. It is very serene and picturesque with many photo opportunities, consisting of Pavillions, gardens, gateways and a Worship Hall. I really enjoyed the short time we spent here. Im sorry but I dont know the exact address of the Great Mosque.
One of my favourite China pictures was taken here. Simply, a barrel filled with water and water lillies and a small insect on a flower. Please have a look!
Something quite funny happened here, Tracy and I will forever laugh at this! There was a room filled with old broken furniture and we could hear a cat meowing in the room. We looked closer and could see the cat, and I said to George "why doesnt he get out of there?" and his reply was (very seriously) "I don't know, Im not a cat!" You probably had to be there to appreciate the humour in this, because George was NOT trying to be funny, he was dead serious.
Hanyangling is the joint tomb of Emperor Liu Qi (188 BC- 141 BC) and his Empress who died in 126BC. 40,000 burial objects, including cavalrymen, infantrymen, painted nude pottery figurines, utensils, chariots, weapons, and a large number of pottery animals have been unearthed here much like at the Terracotta Warriors Museum, but these were much smaller. The figures were about 18" high, and they included women warriors. These warriors were nude because they had originally been dressed in real clothes. We could see the empress's tomb from the museum.
One of the things I love to do when travelling is to go to the theatre. What better way of experiencing the culture of a place. In Xi'an I went to the Tang Dynasty Show. This is a variety performance by the Shaanxi Song & Dance Troupe showing different aspects of Shaanxi music, dance and drama from the Tang Dynasty. The troupe has performed in over 40 countries and has a world wide reputation.
Each act was introduced in English. The performances were fascinating and the costumes and sets were brilliant and very colourful. For some of the dances the women wore costumes with sleeves that covered their hands and trailed on the ground. They waved them through the air to form fascinating shapes - just like the girl gymnasts do with their ribbons. I enjoyed the Pai Xiao solo. This instrument is something like the Pan pipes and the musician played them so beautifully - just like birdsong.
This experience can also include a Dumpling Banquet with many local speciality fillings.
This is the Mausoleum of Emperor Liu Qi of the Han Dynasty.There are many statues with no arms and statues of animals here.By looking at them , we will be able to know the sex of the person depicted by the statue.Since this place is near the airport, you should visit it on your way into Xi`an or on your way to the airport.
This was our last stop on our BIG DAY OUT with George, and unfortunately, by the time we got here, we were tired and all "templed-out"! So, we didnt take in too much information about the history of the small and large wild goose pagodas!
Entrance fee to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was 50rmb = about $8AUD, which also included entry to a museum, the Jianfu Temple and huge area of landscaping.
We did find the actual building to be quite impressive and we climbed up a few flights of stairs in it, then we gave up - just too tired! And once again Im sorry, but I dont know the address either.
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