Xi’an, China: Ancient History & Diverse Culture

This post is mostly photos because I’m saving the rambling storytelling for Xi’an Part 2, our adventures on Mount Hua (to be posted Saturday!).  In short, though, Xi’an is a really unique city that has preserved its ancient history in the core of the city.  Modernity rises up around its (literal) 14th century walls, but inside well-preserved buildings from eras past remain intact without the distraction of skyscrapers.  Its unique history can also be seen in its Muslim culture, which is the long-standing result of 7th century Persian and Afghani merchants marrying Chinese women.  And of course, Xi’an is home to the famous terra cotta warriors!  We had an amazing time exploring this vibrant city and learning more about its distinct culture and history.  Explore with us through our photos!

Muslim Quarter – Street Food & Great Mosque

14th Century Architecture – City Walls, Drum & Bell Towers

Terra Cotta Warriors

The Terra Cotta Warriors were the funerary project for Emperor Qin Shi Huang.  The site’s construction began in 246 BC and stopped in 208 BC, but was not discovered until 1974!  The artisans and construction workers were killed to keep the emperor’s secret.  It consists of 3 pits with life-size warriors and a separate burial mound for the emperor.  The pits are open to the public, but the mausoleum has not been excavated, in part due to respect for the dead but also for fear of potential large amounts of mercury.  Over 8,000 warriors have been unearthed so far. The excavation and restoration process continues today, and is expected to continue for at least another 40 years.

If you can believe it, those photos are only from Day 1 and 2 of our trip!  I know, crazy.  We’ll have lots more soon – up next is the “world’s most dangerous hike” at Mount Hua!

P.S. Xi’an was originally where we were supposed to teach!  We actually didn’t find out that the school we were supposed to teach at had suffered budget cuts until our weeklong training period in Yangshuo was over… While we really enjoyed visiting the vibrant metropolis, the absolutely insane pollution did make us more grateful for our small-town living in Sinan.  There was literally a thick grey smoke covering everything, and we found out later that schools in the area were closed because the air levels were dangerous. Yikes!

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