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Eclipse Over China 

July 20, 2009

Day 4: Xi’an

Xi’an is one of the most important cities in China’s history, serving as the eastern end of the Silk Road from Europe and Africa.  Founded in the 11th century BC during the Zhou Dynasty, it was one of the four great capitals of China – I can’t say I’ve been in very many 3000 year old cities.  Images of the First Qin Emperor, Shi Huang Di, are everywhere, as much as are those of Xi’an’s famous terracotta warriors, which were commissioned by the Emperor to protect him in the afterlife.  Our hotel has an especially impressive 45-foot tall relief sculpture of the Emperor right behind the lobby, and little terracotta warriors are all over the place, like garden gnomes.

emperor Shi Huang Di, and behind him, General Meng Tian and Premier Li Si.Those little terracotta guys are everywhere!

Within the city is the still-surviving wall that was built around the city in 1370 to replace an earlier one.  The wall – 40 feet high and 50 feet thick – is open to pedestrians and bicyclists and is a popular spot for tourists who can visit and view its battlements, watchtowers, and archers’ stations…or dress up for a half hour as palace guards.

Xi'an City WallPeople can stroll, rent bikes to tootle around, or hire a bike-driven rickshaw.Heading back to the costume-rental shop...their half-hour's up

Hey, you – no straggling; back to reality…right now, buddy!

Awww...do I HAVE to???

After breakfast, we piled into our buses for the Big Wild Goose Pagoda on the grounds of a Buddhist monastery.  Swarming with swallows, the place is beautiful and peaceful.

Those aren't geese...they're swallowsPeony PavilionPure as snow...Dragon water spouts

Lunch, another bus ride out to the excavation site a mile from the Qin Emperor’s tomb, and then…

Terracotta WarriorsMore Terracotta Warriors Terracotta Warriors closeup

The Terracotta Army is mind-boggling…almost too much – the brain just can’t comprehend the scale of this project.  At least 8000 life-size statues, many of which are yet to be unearthed, most badly damaged upon discovery, but painstakingly restored.  It’s as overwhelming as the Forbidden City.

Afterwards, dinner and entertainment in the form of the Tang Dynasty Show, a dazzling display of colorful costumes, music, dance, and martial arts representing the Tang era (618-907 AD).

Musical InstrumentsRibbon DanceThe Guys' TurnFeather DanceMaartial Arts DanceDragonsFinale

And it’s raining in Shanghai…

Filed under: Uncategorized — bquock @ 3:12 pm


  1. Wishing you clear skies for the eclipse.

    Comment by Jeff Schwartz — July 20, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  2. Stunning

    Comment by maryanne — July 21, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  3. Looks great Dad!

    Comment by Christopher Quock — July 21, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  4. Thank you for the photos. How are Sean and Genie doing? Tell everyone Hello.
    Your trip looks great. We have been watching the news for any word on the eclipse.
    Mark and Priscilla

    Comment by Priscilla and Mark Lea — July 21, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

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