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The Undiscovered Charms of Xi’an, China

Sunset walk around City Wall in Xi'an, China

Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, is a beautiful city located in the middle of China with a civilization of long standing. It is treated as a capital of ancient China for over 1,000 years and has witnessed the replacement of 13 dynasties.

You will find a great number of historic interests all around the city when come to Xi’an for a tour.

Xi’an is far away from the sea and is situated on the loess plateau, the north of the Qinling Mountains, which results in the lack of precipitation and a dry climate. This climate and location, however, do form a fantastic place to live: no typhoon, no earthquake, no sandstorm and flood. In November, the city always becomes cold and you may take some overcoat in case of the chilly and dry air outside, but you don’t have to worry about the temperature inside for we have central heating system in houses.

There are so many interests in the downtown: the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall, Datang Furong Garden, and Huaqing Hot Spring, etc.

Terra Cota Warriors in Xi'an, China

The scenery in the suburbs of this city is fascinating as well, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the wildlife in Qinling Mountains, the Temple of Dharma Gate, and the tomb of emperors. The Huashan Mountain is also a good natural landscape to go sightseeing though it is somewhat dangerous and you need to be cautious. It is not so easy to list and introduce them all, I hope you will come to Xi’an someday and feel the thickness of their history yourself.

Xi’an has good transport facilities, you can go to every destination by taking bus or subway, but the taxi in Xi’an is quite rare and strange, it is usual to wait for more than half an hour just for taking a taxi. Therefore, I recommend that preparing the public transportation for the historic interests before you come to Xi’an.

As for the hotel, my advice is it will be very convenient to go sightseeing if you choose to live in a hotel around the City Wall. You can go for a walk at the City Wall at night, appreciate the most magnificent sunset, and enjoy the delicious snacks at the night market in downtown.

Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup in Xi'an, China

Not only is Xi’an famous for its long history and majestic interests, but the delicious native snacks as well. Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, cold noodle is famous all over this country and attracts a great many of tourists to Xi’an.

There is a famous snack street in Xi’an called “Huimin Street” just in the center of the city, Most of the native snacks are available at there and it is really a paradise for some Chowhound.

Xi’an is beautiful on spring and autumn, the flowers blossom on spring and the leaves gradually fall on autumn, at that time Xi’an is filled with vivid color, I am sure you will love it.

Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture Travels and Journeys

The Stunning Ancient Gardens Of China’s Suzhou

Master of Nets Garden, Suzhou, China

“A very great and noble city. … It has 1,600 stone bridges under which a galley may pass.”
— Venetian Merchant Traveler Marco Polo, on Suzhou

Suzhou, nicknamed “Venice of the East,” hides many striking gardens in the midst of its streets and canals. Suzhou is a ancient gem, filled with canals, bridges, and its famous gardens. The hub of silk production in China, Suzhou was for centuries a trendy residence for scholars, officials, and merchants. Eager to fill their leisure hours with beauty, they built private gardens in which to escape from the hurly-burly of city life.

With a history of more than 2,500 years, the Suzhou gardens were brought into existence by matching buildings, rockeries, watercourses, and vegetation, transcending reality to ideality. A large number of the Ming and Qing Dynasties gardens have survived to the contemporary days and are spread all over the city of Suzhou. UNESCO has inscribed nine of them on the World Heritage List during recent years.

Humble Administrator's Garden, Gardens of Suzhou There were once 200 private gardens in the city, each planned as a harmonious combination of the elements. Rocks, ponds, trees, and pavilions were placed scrupulously so that the view was picture perfect, wherever one sat. Fewer than half the gardens endure today, but the largest of Suzhou’s gardens open to the public, the Humble Administrator’s Garden, dates from the Ming dynasty. The garden was named after a verse by Pan Yue’s Idler’s Prose, “I enjoy a carefree life by planting trees and building my own house…I irrigate my garden and grow vegetables for me to eat…such a life suits a retired official like me well.” It radiates with bamboo and bonsai, clear, chattering streams, meticulously molded rock pools, and pavilions with inverted roofs. More than half of the garden is filled with water, and intricately latticed walkways let erstwhile scholars to marvel at the landscapes even in rain and snow. Also worth visiting are the craftily designed Lingering Garden, the long walkway of which is adorned with calligraphy, and the Blue Wave Pavilion, an eleventh-century retreat featuring glorious, mature trees.

The Garden of the Master of Nets blends vertical with horizontal, water with land, and yin with yang. This specific garden masterfully uses windows, walls, ponds, and plants to fashion a apparently widespread oasis on a small plot of land in town.

Posted in Travels and Journeys