a bit of history
Tip of the day from our guide - 'the street food is good and cheap but your stomach is not made in China.' True.
Xian is an interesting city and has a lot of history. This morning after breakfast we walked to the city wall which is 600 years old. There are 72 emperor mausoleums in Xian because of the ideal burial feng shui - mountains facing the back and the sea at the feet.
There are three major dynasties to remember.
1. Qin (pronounced Chin)- Built the Great Wall and terra cotta warriors, conquered 6 areas to make a unified region.
2. Han - opened the Silk Road, introduced trade and cultural exchange, made paper and created the nation. This is also the dynasty that cherished women with small feet. Girls had their feet bound until their late teens to inhibit growth. 92% of Chinese are Han people.
3. Tang - Things like eating, concubines, low cut dresses represent the dynasty. Small feet are no longer in vogue. The population reached 1 million during the dynasty. They likely did more than eat and show a lot of cleavage but our guide didn't mention it.
The Terra Cotta warriors were one of the reasons I wanted to take this trip and I wasn't disappointed. Over 8000 warriors total (each with a different face we were told) in the three pits. Some are headless and some are still in the recovery stage. All very unique and interesting. I love the warriors they are working on. You can see the broken pieces and the amount of puzzle work and glue it takes to get them to look like a soldier. The farmer who discovered the warriors - while trying to dig a well on March 31,1974 - was at the museum signing and dating books. I got a book but not a photo. If you take his photo it's ¥20. The museum opened in August 1979 but didn't receive much international attention until 1998 when President Bill & Hillary Clinton visited Xian with the purpose to see the warriors and meet the farmer on a trip to China.
There are a lot of people trying to sell you boxes of low quality figurines as you are wandering around the museum. Watching uncle Rick barter for a package of warriors was a highlight. He didn't want the warriors, he wanted to play the game. Bartering is a sport here.
Before the warriors we visited the art ceramic and lacquer factory. Lacquer trees grow in the area. If you have a baby girl you plant a lacquer tree and when she marries you make her furniture from it. If you don't want lacquer furniture, you can have a full size terra cotta warrior made with your face. I was thinking that my parents would like a warrior version of me in their garden, but the shipping would have been pretty steep. The silk duvet from Suzhou will have to do.
We watched a creepy mannequin make delicious noodle soup for lunch. Xian definitely has the best food on this trip so far! Our time in Xian was short but full of history and amazing sites.
We flew to Beijing this evening and we are back in a 5 star hotel - a Marriott. With a Starbucks in the lobby.
Oh, another tip, never give a Chinese man a green hat. It means his wife is having an affair. Unless of course his wife is having an affair.
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Mellissa. Just musing about life & travel.