Xi’an

西安 (Xi’an)- Two weeks ago, Andrew and I visited the city of Xi’an which is located to the northwest of Shanghai. It’s one of the oldest cities in China and some of the most important dynasties held position here. Eight and a half miles of 40′ high walls enclose 14 square miles of what is now a small portion of the city of Xi’an. Construction of the walls began in the 1300’s! Xi’an is now over 900 square miles and is home to more than 13 million people. It’s most famous and oldest residents are probably the 8,000 terracotta warriors that date back more than 2,000 years ago. Xi’an is located at the end of the Silk Road which led to a strong Muslim influence which can be seen in the food offered here. Xi’an is also known for the noodles, needless to say our weekend here was spent doing what we do best – eating.

Although Xi’an is the only other city we’ve visited in China so far, I have a feeling it will be one of our favorites.

Eats in the Muslim Quarter

The Muslim Quarter is an area within the original walls of the city that offers a variety of food and shopping. We enjoyed walking these crowded streets, taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells. This is where we did all of our eating!

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Muslim Quarter by day.

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and by night.

Pork sandwiched between pita bread.

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Pork BBQ on branches.

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Pig feet.

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Fried crabs.

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Cold noodles served in oil, peanut sauce and red pepper flakes. Fun fact – I spilled this all over myself right after this picture -_-

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Biang Biang Noodles. Believe it or not, but there is only one, extremely long noodle in this dish.

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Fun fact – the Chinese symbol for Biang is the most complex character with 57 brushstrokes.

A hot noodle dish being prepared. There were so many vendors like this.

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You know it’s fall in Xi’an when there is fresh pomegranate juice everywhere you look.

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Carbs of Xi’an.

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Sticky rice cake with dates on top. We thought this was just okay, but how precious is the lady serving this.

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Candy making.

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Crushing red peppers. Michelle, we thought you would like this shop…look at all the peppers hanging on the wall!

Bell and Drum Towers

Being that Xi’an is an ancient city, we of course had to check out the Bell and Drum Towers which were used to signal the running of time and to alert the town of an attack. They were initially built in 1380 under the Ming Dynasty and have had several renovations since then.

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The Bell Tower, as seen from the Drum Tower.

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Bell Tower details.

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How cute is this little guy!

Guys, I had a serious moment with this stray cat roaming around outside the Bell Tower and contemplated putting him in my backpack.

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We ending up with about 50 pictures of me and the cat (thanks, Andrew for capturing the love).

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You know you love cats when you let stray ones lick you. I might have a problem.

The Drum Tower

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As seen from the Bell Tower.

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Even more beautiful lit up at night.

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This group of students is from an English Club at a local university. They heard us speaking English and asked if they could practice speaking with us for a couple of minutes. After we chatted for about five minutes, they asked if we’d like to join them to go dancing but we couldn’t since we had a full day of playing tourist ahead of us…and it was 11:00 A.M. We really loved talking to them.

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I wouldn’t have fared well in ancient China. #TooTallForChina

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We caught a free musical performance in the Drum Tower.

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Hand-drawn calligraphy in the art district of Xi’an.

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Terracotta Army:

2,000 years ago, the Emperor at the time wanted to create an everlasting army so he could rule for an eternity. In the 1970’s a farmer digging a well struck the head of a soldier which led archaeologists to uncover thousands more. All the soldiers were shattered from raiding enemy armies or from the ceiling collapsing over time, so each one must be pieced back together. Each warrior is unique with different faces, hairstyles and clothing, so putting them back together is like a puzzle. What’s even more amazing is that these were all painted beautiful colors, but when they were uncovered the paint disappeared within a week from being exposed to air.

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In the back you can see the shattered soldiers.

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Assembling area.

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Many heads were taken or destroyed beyond repair from raiding armies.

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Had to. Picture of us with a couple thousand of our closest friends.

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This pit has soldiers buried beneath, but scientists and archaeologists are waiting to uncover them so future generations will be able to appreciate the excitement and beauty as well. Scientists also hope advances in technology will allow for a solution to prevent the color from disappearing when they are exposed to air.

And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed our visual tour of Xi’an. But wait, before we go, how about the second installment of Andrew’s Two Jiao: In anticipation to this trip I was wondering if traveling within China would feel like a vacation as we would still be dealing with a language barrier. It was most definitely a great vacation in many ways! While we are still exploring Shanghai it was nice to escape the daily grind and routines we have developed  here and put our selves in a (more) foreign environment and get to see new things and try new foods!

 

Hope everyone is as happy today as this guy is.

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3 thoughts on “Xi’an

  1. Super cool!!! Love all the pics :). Happy belated Thanksgiving. I remember a great memory from Japan was making a Thanksgiving meal with my fellow students as one of them had access to the commissary and we could get a turkey.

    Keep having fun with crazy adventures!!

    Love,
    Jen

    Like

  2. Love being on vacation with you in Xi’an! I could open up a shop and sell chili pepper lights! Might have to put this city on our Fall 2017 China tour, but it doesn’t look vegetarian friendly! Can’t wait to see both of you at the end of March!
    xoxox Michelle and Dave

    Like

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