26 May: Xciting Xi’an – 2014 GSA Distinguished International Lecture Tour

5/26/14

Xi’an’s Bell Tower sits surrounded by flowers and a busy traffic circle.

Xi’an’s Bell Tower sits surrounded by flowers and a busy traffic circle.

We are in the center of Xi’an, Shaanxi province, which has a wall around it from the Ming dynasty (~500yrs ago). Over the weekend we did some sightseeing before the lectures at three different universities start on Monday.

China has invested heavily in infrastructure with many new bridges.

China has invested heavily in infrastructure with many new bridges.

 

Many taxis have been converted to natural gas, crowd the fueling station and raise their hoods to fill up.

Many taxis have been converted to natural gas, crowd the fueling station and raise their hoods to fill up.

A popular attraction a bustling street in the Muslim quarter, loaded with vendors from the Hui ethnic group selling all kinds of food, and other things.

My M.S. student Kangcheng Yin has been a great help with the language, and arrangements.  He buys a batch of spicy peanuts with peppers from a vendor in the Muslim Quarter.

My M.S. student Kangcheng Yin has been a great help with the language, and arrangements. He buys a batch of spicy peanuts with peppers from a vendor in the Muslim Quarter.

Today we went to see the impressive terra cotta warriors about an hour east of the city. The army of pottery soldiers guarding the tomb of the emperor of the first unified Chinese empire is hard to fathom.  You can’t help but be amazed by such a unique site.  Thousands of individually different soldiers line up in rows excavated from the loamy soil. The level of detail is astounding; each figure has different facial features, hair styles, and uniforms. The main tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang has only been probed in a few spots, and the terra cotta warriors form only a small part of the whole complex.

It’s exciting to see the world famous Terra Cotta Warriors.

It’s exciting to see the world famous Terra Cotta Warriors.  The ranks of warriors recedes into the distance, where their unexcavated companions await.

Silent guardians of the emperor’s tomb.

Silent guardians of the emperor’s tomb.

Figures of horses pulling chariots (now decomposed).

Figures of horses pulling chariots (now decomposed).

Each figure is unique, with its own features, and the armour is  very detailed.

Each figure is unique, with its own features, and the armour is very detailed.

After our tour, we headed back to the Muslim quarter for a local lamb stew eaten with torn-up bread chunks, a warm and delicious way to revive after a long day of sightseeing.

A bustling scene in the Muslim Quarter’s food street.

A bustling scene in the Muslim Quarter’s food street.

– Margie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s