Xian was the capital for China for many centuries and is home to many of the treasures of the country. A contemporary second tier city with a population of approximately 10 million. It shows all of the conflicts of urban growth; past and future….air pollution at its worst & subways under construction….coal fired power plants & wind farms….massive in-migration & thousands of new apartment buildings….and then there’s the poor tree lined boulevards trying to survive.
Our guide Neil starts us at the Museum of the Terra-Cotta Soldiers. We are all blown away by the scope of this undertaking……there are 3 pits of which only 2 are currently under excavation. Discovered in 1974, having been lost for thousands of years, this find represents a level of artistry, organization and wealth unknown in the West.
From there we went to the city wall. It was 100 feet deep, 100 feet high, had a moat, guard posts along the way and at all 4 corners. It was truly “the Great Wall” of city walls…..an astonishing feat for the Zhou dynasty….582 BC…..before the Caterpillar dynasty!
The Tang dynasty was responsible for the evenings entertainment…..a wonderful presentation of music, dance and acting…..truly on the level of a Broadway show.
Giant Big Goose Pagoda….652 AD…..a temple that was built to last. If we could build like this today all of our infrastructure would still be standing for centuries. In the 25 years since Dan was there the redevelopment around the pagoda is almost Disney-esque at a quality level that Walt would be proud of.
After 3 days we are off to Lijiang via plane with a quick change in Kumning.