27 January 2006

Xi'an







I wrote about Xi’an before we left for China and said it was the place I was looking forward to visiting the most. It didn’t disappoint. The University of Washington’s Silk Road website has more information about all the places I mention.

The first places we visited with the Small and Big Goose Pagodas. We loved the city walls. Apparently you can now go all the way around the city (they have bikes to rent). The walls aren’t complete, but we heard that they have something to connect the sections. Since they didn’t have bikes for children, we weren’t able to find out what the setup really was.

I’ve already written about the Great Mosque and the Muslim quarter. We also went to the Drum Tower and the Bell Towers.

The Chinese have a saying that says something like "If you want to see Chinese history for the last 100 years, go to Shanghai. If you want to see Chinese history for the last 1,000 years, go to Beijing. If you want to see Chinese history for the last 2,000 years (or maybe 5,000 years; I heard it both ways), go to Xi’an. You could feel that Xi’an was an older city, and I liked that.
We both like the older architecture too.

The Goose Pagodas were simpler than some of the later architectural styles- like what you see in the 14th-century Great Mosque. What we’re really like to do is live in Xi’an for at least a few months. It’s the kind of city I’d like to poke around- like Jerusalem and Cairo; and, I imagine, Samarqand.

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