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Useful Information | Banpo Museum | Bell Tower | Big Wild Goose Pagoda | City Wall | Drum Tower | Grand Mosque | Huaqing Hot Springs | Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang | Shaanix Provincial Museum | Small Wild Goose Pagoda | Steles of Forest | Tang Dynasty Show | Terra Cotta | Welcome Ceremony at the Gate of City Wall |

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Banpo Museum

The specimens displayed here are carefully chosen from among ten thousand cultural relics excavated at Banpo Site. There are exquisite and carefully worked drulled stone axe, unique shaped amphora, simple but vivid painted pottery, complicated and confusing carved signs and other farming tools and articles for daily use. These cultural relics reflect the cleverness and intelligence of Banpo men. They provide us with important materials for studing the history of primitive society the probing into the occurrence and development of science and technology. They deserve to be called one of the bright pearl in the great treasure-house of human art culture.

Bell Tower

Have you ever heard the sound of " the morning bell " and " the dusk drum " in China? You can see these dual towers in many ancient cities of China that have existed since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), among which the most well-preserved and best-known are the Bell and Drum Towers in Xian.

The Bell Tower was originally built in the Yingxiang Temple in 1384, at the intersection of West Street and Guangji Street. Then in 1582, it was moved to its present pivotal position, in the very heart of the city at the junction of four main streets extending to the east, south, west and north, for rebuilding and later restorations.

With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant. The square base of the tower has an area of 1377.4 square meters, 35.5 meters wide and 8.6 meters high. It was laid entirely in blue bricks. The whole building, 36 meters high overall, is a triple-eaved, two-storey structure, built with a mixture of bricks and wood. Under the eaves, there is a beautifully decorated, colored " dougong " (archway). It's the only characteristic of Chinese wooden architecture depicted here. An enormous ancient bell left by the Ming Dynasty is displayed on the northwest corner of the tower. It was once used for telling time by being struck at dawn.

The entrance to the Bell Tower is via a subway from North Street.


Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Goose Pagoda is situated in the Da Ci'en Temple, four kilometers away from the center of the city. It is one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks, possibly the most beautiful building left in Xian today.

Known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex, the Da Ci'en Temple was initially built in 589, during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). At that time, it was named as Wulou Temple. Later in AD 647 of the Tang Dynasty, Li Zhi (who became Emperor Tang Gaozong in AD 649) ordered to rebuild this temple in memory of his late mother, Empress Wende. The temple subsequently gained its present name "Da Ci'en Temple". Within the temple, there is a small bell tower from which a bell, which was used for telling time to the monks in ancient times, hangs. Daxiongbaodian is the main hall of the temple.

In AD 652, the Big Goose Pagoda was built to store the sutras and the figurines of Buddha, which were brought from India by a famous Buddhist translator and traveler Tang Sanzang, also known by his Buddhist name as Xuanzang. At the age of 28, he set off to India to study the sutra and then brought back most of the scriptures to Chang'an, present Xian city. Altogether, he spent 17 years for a round trip and experienced many hardships. Upon his return he wrote a book entitled "Journey to the West", recording the customs of different places he visited and his experiences. Subsequently the great novelist of the Ming Dynasty Wu Cheng'en, collected the materials handed down and wrote a novel titled "Pilgrimage to the West" which later became one of four greatest novels in China. As a result, the Television Series about this story was made and became world-renowned. In memory of Xuanzang, his statue is placed in front of the Da Ci'en Temple.

During the early days, the pagoda boasted a brick structure of five storeys and about 60 meters (197 feet) high. Between AD 701 and AD 704, at the end of the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, five more storeys were added to the original pagoda. Damage by the war reduced it to seven storeys, to what it is today. With a height of 64 meters (210 miles), the pagoda occupies a base 25 meters by 25 meters (82 feet) square. The Big Goose Pagoda is a brick-tower architecture, sturdy and simple. Walls and doors are carved with vivid and exquisite figures of Buddha, reflecting the profundity in the paintings f the Tang Dynasty.

But why was this pagoda called the Big Goose Pagoda (Dayanta)?

According to historical records, the monks living in the Da Ci'en Temple had no meat to eat. They longed much for it so one of the monks started to pray to the Gods to bless them. At that very moment, a group of wild geese flew over the temple. Their heads dropped to the ground and they died. The monks were all surprised and thought it was the result of the Buddhist spirit so they decided not to eat meat forever. A pagoda was ordered to be built in this place, hence the name "Big Goose Pagoda".

 


City Wall

When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should "built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor," so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xian City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.

After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet) wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 120 meters, there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts on the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.

Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.

Each city gate has three gate towers: Zhenglou, Jianlou and Zhalou. The most outside is Zhalou, which stands away from the City Wall and is opposite to Zhenglou. It was used to raise and lower the suspension bridge. Jianlou with small windows in the front and flanks was used as a defensive outpost. Zhenglou, in the inner, is the main entrance to the city. The wall connects Jianlou and Zhenglou Towers. The area between them within the wall was called "Wong Cheng", in which the soldiers stationed. From Wong Cheng, there are sloped horse passages leading to the top of the city wall.

Initially, the wall was built with layers of dirt, with the base layer including also lime and glutinous rice extract. Throughout the time Xian City Wall has been restored three times. In 1568, Zhang Zhi (the government officer of that period) was in charge to rebuild the wall with bricks. In 1781, another officer, Bi Yuan, refitted the city wall and the gate towers. More recently (since 1983) the Shaanxi Provincial Government restored the city wall again. A circular park has been built along the high wall and the deep moat. The thriving trees and flowers decorate the classical Chinese architecture of the wall, adding additional beauty to the city of Xian.


Drum Tower

To the northwest of the Bell Tower, across from the Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square, the Drum Tower is located at the end of a lively street in the Muslim Quarter. Four years older than the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower was built in 1380, so has more than 600 years of history. According to legend, in ancient times there once hung a drum for telling time. The drum was struck at dusk, hence the name "Drum Tower". With an area of 1,924 square meters, the Drum Tower appears rectangular in shape, 52.6 meters long, 38 meters wide and 7.7 meters high. Like the Bell Tower, it's also a triple-eaved, two-storey structure. The main difference between them is that the roof of the Drum Tower was covered with glazed bricks. In addition, there are antique shops set on it, where tourists can both sightsee and shop. Standing at the city centre, the Bell and Drum Towers witness and record the history of northwest China and are prominent landmarks of Xian.

Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China and its location is northwest of the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane.

According to historical records engraved on a stone tablet inside, this mosque was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This was a result of Islam being introduced into Northwest China by Arab merchants and travelers from Persia and Afghanistan during the mid-7th century when some o them settled down in China and married women of Han Nationality. Their descendants became Muslim of today. The Muslim played an important role in the unifications of China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Hence, other mosques were also built to honor them.

In Xian, it is really well worth a trip to see the Grand Mosque, not only for its centuries-old history but also for its particular design of mixed architecture - traditional Muslim and Chinese styles.

Occupying an area of over 12,000 square meters, the Grand Mosque is divided into four courtyards, 250 meters long and 47 meters wide with a well-arranged layout. Landscaped with gardens, the further one strolls into its interior, the more serene one feels.

The first courtyard contains an elaborate wooden arch nine meters high covered with glazed tiles that dates back to the 17th century. In the center of the second courtyard, a stone arch stands with two steles on both sides. On one stele is the script of a famous calligrapher named Mi Fu of the Song Dynasty; the other is from Dong Qichang, a calligrapher of the Ming Dynasty. Their calligraphy because of such elegant yet powerful characters is considered to be a great treasure in the art of handwriting.

At the entrance to the third courtyard is a hall that contains many steles from ancient times. As visitors enter this courtyard, they will see the Xingxin Tower, a place where Muslims come to attend prayer services. A "Phoenix" placed in the fourth courtyard, the principal pavilion of this Grand Mosque complex, contains the Prayer Hall, the surrounding walls of which are covered with colored designs. This Hall can easily hold 1,000 people at a time and according to traditional custom, prayer services are held five times everyday respectively at dawn, noon, afternoon, dusk and night.


Huaqing Hot Springs

Spending some time at the Huaqing Hot Springs, located about 35 kilometers east of Xian city at the foot of the Lishan Mountain is a must for every visitor to Xian. For centuries emperors came here to bathe and enjoy the scenic beauty, and it has been a favorite spa since the Tang Dynasty. Huaqing Hot Springs can be conveniently visited on returning from the Terracotta Army site.

History
During the Western Zhou, Li Palace was originally established a resort here. Later the First Emperor Qin built a stone pool and gave the name "Lishan Hot Springs," and it was extended by the Han Wudi, Martial Emperor. However, the strongest associations are with the Tang Dynasty, and most of the present buildings have a Tang style.

The Hot Springs Palace was built by Emperor Taizong and a walled palace was added by Emperor Xuanzong in 747 A.D. Unfortunately, it was damaged during the An Lushan Rebellion in the middle Tang period. The present site was rebuilt on the site of the Qing Dynasty structure.


Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huangdi (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry up on building his royal tomb. It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor,saw to his entombment. The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xian: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy. The imperial tomb is at the eye of the dragon. The emperor had chosen well. In size, the mausoleum is larger than the Great pyramid in Egypt. Seen from afar, it is a hill overgrown with vegetation. It is believed that the tomb consists of an interior city and an exterior city. The exterior of the mausoleum is a low earth pyramid with a wide base. In 2000 years, the original 100-meter-high (328 feet) hillock has been weathered down to about 47 meters (154 feet) high, 515 meters (1,690 feet) long from south to north and 485 meters (1,591 feet) wide east to west. In an area of 2,180,000 square meters (less than one square miles), many large-scale alhambresque buildings housing precious treasures are said to be buried inside the tomb. According to historical records, the mausoleum was a notorious crime scene. Many laborers died of hardship during its construction, and all the workmen were entombed along with the emperor in order to keep their mouths shut. Also all the barren royal concubines accompanied the emperor on his last journey. Sima Qian, a great historian who wrote in early Han dynasty, offered archeologists great insight on the mausoleum's construction. We learned from him that the tomb is huge. The coffin of Emperor Qin Shihuang was cast in bronze. Underground Palace was gem-studded replica of imperial housing above ground. Moreover, booby traps with automatic-shooting arrows were installed to deter would-be tomb robbers. Heaven and earth were represented in the central chamber of the tomb. Ceiling shaped into sun, moon and stars by inlaying pearls and gems symbolizes the sky and the ground was an accumulation point of rivers, lakes and seas, like Yellow River and Yangtze River, which stands for the earth. It is said that the underground palace was brightly lit by whale oil lamps for eternity. Nowadays, the records in this book have been definitely proved right by archaeological findings and the underground palace of the tomb is presumably well preserved. As a part of the mausoleum, the terracotta warriors have dazzled the world. But the materials unexcavated are also worth studying. Qin bricks and tiles, engraved with decorative patterns, are strew everywhere around the tomb. There are many satellite tombs built for accompanying Qin Shihuang. Ministers, princesses and princes, the famous and the not so famous were inhumed there. The burial pits for horses, rare birds and pottery figures were ever regarded as the sacrificial objects to the Emperor. Hence the remains from these tombs and pits are beneficial for archaeologists to make further research.

Shaanix Provincial Museum

Situated one kilometre north-west of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian's southern suburb, the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum - a striking Tang-Dynasty style pavilion, houses a large collection of 113,000 historic and cultural artefacts unearthed in Shaanxi. It is an absolute must for every visitor to the city.

The main complex is a mixture of ancient palaces and courtyard buildings, harmonious and graceful in hue, in simple and elegant style. The exhibits on the ground and first floors are arranged in roughly three parts: Basic Exhibition Hall, the Theme Exhibition Hall and East Exhibition Hall. As well as the chronological dynastic exhibits including the Han, Wei, Jin, North and South, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, the pre-historical and bronze period exhibits, together with terra cotta figures and murals from tombs of the Tang Dynasty, are highly recommended.

Basic Exhibition Hall
This hall focuses on the pre-history times of Shaanxi and cultural relics and remains from the dynasties of the Zhou, the Qin, the Han and the Tang. The hall includes the Preface Hall, the Shaanxi local history exhibition hall, and the central hall. The exhibition is divided into seven parts of the stone age, the dynasties of the Zhou, the Qin, the Han, the Wei, the Jin, the South and North Dynasty, the Sui, the Tang, the Song, the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing.

East Exhibition Hall
This hall mainly holds temporary exhibitions from home and abroad. The hall has held several exhibitions including "The Zhaoling Mausoleum's Fine Cultural Relics Exhibition", "The Tang Dynasty's Tomb Real Murals Exhibition", "Grand Exhibition of Gold and Silver Vessels from the Tang Dynasty", "Exhibition of Costumes of Women in the Tang Dynasty", "Exhibition of  Cultural Relics of Empress Wu Zetian and Women in the Tang dynasty" etc.

Theme Exhibition Hall
This hall is 2,500 square meters in size and it is mainly for holding various types of theme exhibitions with a focus on Shaanxi local cultural characteristics. Many exhibitions such as "Shaanxi Fine Bronze Objects Exhibition" and "Many Dynasties' Fine Terra-cotta Figures Exhibition" etc. have been held here.

A science and technology center has been built for the preservation of relics. Language is not a barrier, because the computer-controlled, international symposium hall provides spontaneous interpretation into six different languages.


 


Small Wild Goose Pagoda

The pagoda is located south of Youyi Road in Xi'an, in what used to be Jianfu Temple in Anrenfang of Tang Dynasty Chang'an, outside the southern gate of Ming Dynasty Chang'an. Along with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda it was an important landmark in Chang'an, capital of the Tang Dynasty. Since it was smaller and built later than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, it was named the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. It was built in 707 during the Tang Dynasty. As ancient architecture, however, it has kept all its Tang Dynasty features.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a multi-eave, square, brick structure of fifteen storeys. Originally it was 46 meters high, but now it is 43.3 meters high, because its steeple was destroyed. It has a square pedestal and a huge first storey, whose sides measure 11.38 meters long each. Doors on the north and south sides of the first storey have frames built of black stone. Carved on the lintel are images of arhats and designs of grasses, their excellent workmanship reflecting the artistic style of the early Tang Dynasty. The pagoda has fifteen pent roofs. Each storey is very low with small windows only on the south and north sides to let in light and air. They do not correspond to the floors inside. The eaves are formed by designs in the shape of chevrons and fifteen tiers of overlapping bricks, each tier wider than the one below, thus making the eaves curve inward, a characteristic of multi-eave pagodas in the Tang Dynasty. The exterior of the pagoda tapers gradually from the bottom. From the first to the fifth storey it tapers very little, but from the sixth storey up, it reduces drastically, giving the pagoda a smooth curved contour. The tubular interior of the pagoda has wooden flooring and a winding flight of wooden steps leading to other storeys, but there is little space and it is rather dark inside the pagoda. Since people cannot look at the view from the top of the pagoda, it was not built for people to climb up.

The shape and structure of the pagoda are typical of early multi-eave pagodas and influenced many brick and stone rnulti-eave pagodas built later in other parts of the country.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda, an early attempt at such pagodas, has certain structural weaknesses. Most notable are the small windows on the north and south sides of all storeys, reducing the buildings firmness. That defect later caused the pagoda to split vertically into two parts in an earthquake. This weakness was eliminated in other pagodas by avoiding doors and windows on the same sides on all storeys.

According to an inscription made by Wang He on the lintel of the door in the first storey in 1551 in the Ming Dynasty, the pagoda at Jianfu Temple was built in the Tang Dynasty and existed through the Song and Yuan dynasties. In 1487, the last year of the Chenghua period of the Ming Dynasty, an earthquake in Chang'an caused a one-chi [1/3-metre] crack in the pagoda from top to bottom. The fracture was so wide that it looked like windows, and people passing by could see it dearly. In 1521, the last year of the Zhengde period of the same dynasty, another quake occurred and the crack was miraculously closed.

Actually, the crack of five hundred years ago still existed and the roof leaked, causing more damage to the pagoda and putting it in a critical condition. In 1965 the people's government allocated funds to repair the pagoda and consolidate its internal structure. The second, fifth, seventh, ninth and eleventh storeys were reinforced with hidden steel girdles; facilities were set up on the roof to protect it from rain and a lightning rod was installed. An office was also set up to take care of the pagoda and other relics.


Steles of Forest

Once the site of the Temple of Confucius during the Northern Song dynasty (960--1127), the Forest of Stone Steles Museum is situated on Sanxue Street, near the south gate of Xi'an City Wall. It was initially established in AD 1087 when some precious stone steles were moved here for safe keeping, including the "Classic on Filial Piety" written by Emperor Xuanzong in AD 745 and "the Kaicheng Stone Steles" arved in AD 837. With an area of 31,000 square meters, the Forest of Stone Steles used to be the principal museum for Shaanxi Province since 1944. Then because of the large number of stone steles, it was officially named as the Forest of Stone Steles Museum in 1992.

With 900 years of history, this treasure house holds a large collection of the earliest stone steles of different periods, from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. All together, there are 3,000 steles and the museum is divided into seven exhibitions halls, which mainly display the works of calligraphy, painting and historical records. All of these record some achievements in the development of the Chinese culture and reflect the historical facts of the cultural exchanges between China and other countries.


Now, please come with me to the exhibition halls.

Room One mainly displays "the Kaicheng Stone Classics", which contains twelve lections caved on 114 steles. The lections include "the Book of Changes", " the Book of History" , "the Book of Songs", "the Analects of Confucius" and some others of this kind. These are the must-read books for the intellectuals of the feudal society. At that time the printing was under development. In order to well preserve these lections, the rulers ordered to engrave them on the stone steles.

The stone tablets written by the calligraphers during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) are exhibited in the Room Two. It has the collection of the masterpieces of the famous calligraphers as Ou Yangxun, Yan Zhenqing, Wang Xizhi and Liu GongquanNestorian Tablet is the most useful material for experts to study the cultural exchanges between the Tang Dynasty and the other states.

Room Three houses the calligraphy-collection, which is of great importance. As a traditional art, calligraphy occupies the same position of importance as the painting in the history of Chinese art. In China, the scripts are classified into five categories: seal script, official script, regular script, running-hand and cursive-hand. Through these tablets, you could learn much about the evolvement of the Chinese haracters.

Painting Stones in Room Four were engraved with historical records. You could see the portraits of Confucius and Bodhidarma on some and the allegorical pictures and texts written to appear like pictures on others. In ancient times, the rulers of different dynasties preferred to build temples and solidify the city wall. Some records of this form of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties engraved on the steles are preserved in Room Five. Of course, if you enjoy the poetic inscriptions, you would certainly want to go to Room Six. Emperors, noted ministers and well-reputed calligraphers of various dynasties have left many inscriptions, some of which are shown in Room Seven.

The Stone Sculpture Gallery was built in 1963, including mausoleum stone sculpture and religious stone sculpture from Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD) to Tang Dynasty. It is prized as a great treasure in the art of world stone sculptures.


Tang Dynasty Show

The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, a performance of Chang'an music and dance originated in China's Tang Dynasty over a thousand years ago. It has been recreated in accordance with various historical records as well as ancient art and relics discovered in Xian, the capital of the empire during the Tang Dynasty.

The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show is performed by the "Tang Dynasty Song & Dance Troupe", a branch of the "Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe". This type of performance has been treasured as a national art that reflects the glory and richness of the Tang Dynasty era.

The Performances:

- The Huaqing Palace
"The Huaqing Palace" is a typical piece of Tang court music. In this performance you will see various ancient Chinese musical instruments.
This selection was originally performed at royal banquets at the Huaqing Palace, a Tang imperial palace located twenty miles east of Xian at the foot of Mt. Lishan.

- The White Ramie Cloth Costume Dance
The "White Ramie Cloth Costume Dance" was a popular folk dance during the Tang Dynasty. The ramie cloth was actually discovered by the Chinese during the Jin dynasty, and the dance was choreographed to demonstrate the flowing quality of this new fabric.

- Battling Dance of the King of Qin
"The Battling Dance of the King of Qin" is a triumphal dance created by Tang Taizong, a Tang Emperor renowned for building the empire's military strength. "King of Qin" was his official title before being crowned the Tang Emperor. The weapons and flags used in performance are replicas of those used by his soldiers.

- Red and Blue Camelot Dance
"The Red and Blue Camelot Dance" was a Tang court dance created by Yang Guifei, the favourite concubine of Tang Emperor Tang Xuanzong. Yang Guifei, renowned as one of the four most beautiful women in Chinese history, choreographed and performed the dance as a recreation of one of the Emperor's dreams.

- Da Nuo Dance
"The Da Nuo Dance" is a sorcerer's dance originating in ancient China and performed as early as in the Zhou Dynasty. Later, during the Han and Tang Dynasties, it was performed during ceremonies for good luck and to dispel evil spirits and plagues.

- Qui Ci Zhe Zhi Dance
Since ancient times, Qui Ci developed as its own unique Northwestern Chinese civilization, and was well known for its cultural music and dances. During the period of the Tang Dynasty, the Ambassadors of Qui Ci would stage performances of their unique cultural music and dances each year as an homage to the Tang Emperors. It has since gained popularity and fame.

- Buddha's Theme
Buddhism was the most popular religious belief during the Tang dynasty. "The Buddha's Theme" is a piece of music which expresses the philosophy of Buddhism. It is performed by the 'Tang Dynasty Zhong Yan Ladies Band" using traditional musical instruments.

- A Farmer's Home along the Wei River Valley
"A Farmer's Home" is a solo traditionally sung by a woman. The lyrics are from a poem by Wang Wei, a famous Tang Dynasty poet (also known as "the patriotic poet"), which imagines the simple and yet happy life of a farmer.

- Spring Orioles Song
"Spring Orioles Song" was a piece of music that was created for Tang Gaozong's inauguration. During the ceremony, a flock of orioles flew overhead. The emperor was so impressed by this good luck sign that he ordered his court musicians to compose music for the Pai Xiao, a three thousand years old instrument, to imitate the sound of the orioles. This music will be performed by Executive Producer, Gao Ming, who is internationally recognized as the premier performer of the Pai Xiao.

- Glory of the Silk Country
"Glory of the Silk Country" is an excerpt from the award-winning Chinese opera "The Silk Road Rainbow," created and written by Executive Producer Gao Ming in 1990. This sensational opera tells the story of the legendary Silk Road which, for hundreds of years, served as the main thoroughfare between China and the West. The scene depicted tells of the Tang Emperor's approval and support in establishing the Silk Road.


Terra Cotta

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County, Shaanxi province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China. Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had work begun on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211 --206 BC). The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' tinerary. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994.Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses. Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.

Welcome Ceremony at the Gate of City Wall

The City wall of Xian, built in the third year of Hongwu Reign of the Ming Dynasty (1370 A.D.), is located in the urban area of Xian city. It stands 12 metres high. 14 metres across the top, 18 metres thick at bottom and 13.79 kilometres in length. The outline of the city wall is rectangle, covering an area of 11.47 square kilometers. It has four gates with a moat around it. It is also the most complete and the largest in scale city wall to have survived throught Chinas long history.

The Gate, located at the south end of Yingbin Road, is the only city gate that one must pass from the airport and east railway station to inner city. The ceremony for welcoming guests into Xian city in the style of ancients is held there in order to reproduce the high courteous reception of the prosperous Tang dynasty according to the historical records.

When the guests come to the outside of the Gate, the warriors in armour on both sides of the gate, short open the door together and push the two leaves of heavy vermilion door open slowly. In the melodious ancient music. The rite officials, guided by the Maids holding lamps in hands, welcome the guests out of the gate, present them with welcoming wine and issue the official pass document to every guest. The guest, guided by the officials and maids, enter the Wengcheng by Walking through 100-metre-long red carpet. Tens of dancing maids dance trippingly along the imperial pavement to give warm welcome to the guests from home and abroad. The government officials affix the vermilion city seal to the official pass document. By doing that, the guests fell as if they were back to prosperous Tang dynasty 1000 years before and enjoy the elegance of Tang Culture.

 



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Travel Licence No. 353984