Journals from China Studies Institute, Beijing
2012-12-09 Stop Two: Xi'an
Soldiers in Pit 1 of the Terra Cotta Soldiers' Museum
We arrived in Xi’an on December 1st by bullet train. The seats were comfortable and it had more space than you would find on an airplane. Although the train reached approximately 120mph, it felt like a very comfortable and smooth trip. I really liked this train and would suggest taking this train when wanting to travel during your study abroad trip. Many people, like me, only had the weekends to travel so the bullet train cuts down the travel time giving you more time to have fun and go sightseeing. When we arrived in Xi’an we took a bus to our hotel. The hotel was very nice and had heat which was nice due to the winter weather. We only had time to drop off our luggage so we could all walk to the Great Mosque. Outside of our hotel is a market where you can purchase an array of items. I have been trying to buy something from every place that I visit as a souvenir for me to take home with me. The Great Mosque is only a five-minute walk from the hotel. It serves as the center for the Muslim community in Xi’an. The courtyards are spacious and have a gardenlike feel. The Mosque is a fusion between Arabian and Chinese architecture. The Mosque was beautiful but small so it only took thirty minutes to walk around and take pictures. After visiting the Mosque I walked through the market to get back to the hotel and did a little shopping.
The next day, we all got onto the bus to visit the Terra Cotta Soldiers’ Museum. This is the one place that I wanted to see in China. Even before going to China, I knew that I wanted to see the Terra Cotta Soldiers in Xi’an. There are three pits based on how big the excavation site is. The soldiers that have been dug up are all unique and resemble an army of soldiers and horses. This is also the location of the burial site of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. We walked around for a few hours and took pictures. Of all of the historical sites that I had seen in China so far, this was by far the most interesting. On my way out of the museum I bought a few souvenirs. We all got onto the bus to visit the City Wall before we went back to the hotel.
The Xi’an City Wall is not only the most complete city wall that has survived in China, but is also one of the largest and most complete ancient military systems of defense in the world. The wall was built during the Ming Dynasty and displays the ability and wisdom of the working people in ancient times. We walked around on the wall and took pictures but the weather was very cold so we had only walked around for about an hour when everyone went back to the bus to get warm. As soon as we got back to the hotel, we packed up to leave early in the morning for our next stop: Chengdu, the home of the pandas!