I love Xi’an西安. The food was great. The history was amazing. The architecture was beautiful. And did I mention the food?
When you go to Xi’an you have to go see the terracotta warriors. This was an experience. It’s one thing to learn about them in history class and see pictures online, but to actually go in person was amazing to me. The terracotta warriors are the guards of the tomb of the first imperial emperor of China, Qin ShiHuang 秦始皇. What I found most interesting is that this is still an active archaeological site and the majority of the warriors were not found whole. Instead, archaeologists painstakingly put every one together piece by piece. Also archaeologists think that there are possibly thousands more warriors that are still underground in the burial site, but because the current technology is not good enough to protect the pigment on the warriors and other delicate artifacts, the Chinese government does not allow them to be unearthed.
Besides the terracotta warriors, there were a lot of artifacts I saw from the Tang Dynasty at Wuzetian 武則天 and her son and grandson’s burial grounds and Xi’an’s history museum. During the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties Xi’an (then Chang’an 長安) was the capital of China. It was also a very important stop on the silk road. Wuzetian was the only Chinese empress ever! There were literally lion statues there that were built in the Tang dynasty. That means they were over 1000 years old! I also really like a special kind of pottery called tri-colored glazed pottery 唐三彩. I just think it was so beautiful and is super cool because it was unique to the Tang dynasty. Because of the silk road, this kind of pottery has been found in the Middle East and even Europe.
The architecture was great too. I went on a really bumpy 14 km bike ride on a wall that was built in the Ming Dynasty. I saw a tower that the priest in the story of the Monkey king actually practiced Buddhism at. I saw beautiful and complex tombs that were built more than a thousand years ago. It was breathtaking, awe inspiring, and frankly amazing.
And the food! Biang Biang mian, paomo, roujiamo, pomegranates, and persimmons. Everything I ate was delicious. The stress of ordering food in China is another story for another day but everything I did order was sooooo good. Shanxi, the province that Xi’an is in is known for everything that they make out flour so bread and noodles was where it was at! I miss it already.
Xi’an was also full of personal victories. I understand everything my tour guide said to me in Chinese. I talked to like 50 people about how my hair was fake. I watched a Chinese movie and didn’t need subtitles. I learned about a place and its people and its history all in Chinese and I loved it. I needed this break from Beijing and I’m glad that I spent it in Xi’an.