“Xi’an is a real Chinese city! It has an incredible atmosphere, and a population of about 8 million, so from our point of view, we're not talking about a small city. It's a very exciting mix of Chinese and Middle Eastern/Islamic influences, and the whole city oozes thousands of years of culture. Right in the middle of the bazaar are buildings with tiered, pagoda-style roofs, corresponding to the precepts of feng shui, while in the Great Mosque Muslims pray five times a day in the direction of Mecca. Of course, modern, tall buildings can also be found here, but they do not define the atmosphere of the city.
The Great Mosque itself can be approached by walking through the bazaar alley. In the bazaar, it is as though you have stepped into an Arabic country: the vendors are shouting loudly, sometimes giving a special performance, and trying to sell their wares for more than they’re worth.
There is something to please every eye and every mouth (this part should only be read after lunch ): grilled squid rolled in spices, skewers of roasted lamb, boiled beef served in a pita, pomegranate, durian (stinky fruit) and other tropical fruit, candy floss, oriental sweets, baked goods, spices, etc. In addition to food, of course, you can also get everything else, such as a complete terracotta army, silken ware that looks original, and of course branded clothes and bags at discounted prices. The whole bazaar is noisy and bustling, with everyone talking at the same time, while the locals also rode bikes, scooters, and rickshaws through the crowd. It all gives the whole place a very special atmosphere, but tourists should be prepared, because not everyone will like it!
After the hustle and bustle, upon entering the Grand Mosque, the noise suddenly stops, and everything radiates harmony and tranquility. This mix of building styles is fantastic, with its typically Chinese pagoda roof, while some parts of the building are decorated with Arabic lettering. The mosque is currently still a Muslim place of worship, so it is not possible to see it from the inside.” (2018)
“Cycling in Xi’an is a great experience, and well worth trying! It offers excellent views of the city, and you can see many landmarks from a different perspective. What’s more, when you get off the bike, you can also discover fantastic restaurants, beer bars, and small shops next to the city wall. The street of ‘artists’ was a real highlight for me.” (2018)
Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
Xian – Terracotta Army
“Our first stop was a display room, where the technology for making clay figures is presented, and then you can shop for figurines of different sizes and shapes. (Life-size figures can also be purchased – they will be delivered to your home address).
After the presentation, we continued our journey toward the excavation site of the Terracotta Army. The figures were discovered by chance by a farmer digging a well. The figures can be seen in several covered halls. The excavation is still ongoing, and they still do not know exactly how large of an area contains these archaeological remains. The first hall is the largest, and has the most statues: soldiers and officers lined up as if for battle. Each figure in the army is unique, with different faces and facial expressions. Their clothing is incredibly detailed (also showing their rank), and their faces are very lifelike.
There are two more halls, one smaller and one larger, which contain figures. In the smaller hall you can see the soldiers guarding the emperor, while most of the larger hall is still waiting to be excavated. In the last area, you can see completely restored figures up close, behind glass. The emperor's grave is currently unexcavated, as a significant amount of mercury was measured/found above his grave, and according to the current state of science, there is no solution yet for how to excavate it in such a way that the contents of the grave are not damaged. Still, want to know more about the Terracotta Army? In the museum showing the details of the excavation, you can find additional figures and objects belonging to them. It is located in a huge area, in a beautiful, landscaped environment. Of course, this place is also very popular, so you can expect a lot of tourists, but regardless, you can see everything. (I could have looked around for at least another hour or two.)” (Sophie, 2018)
Old City with its walls