Bell Tower in Xi'an is situated in the very heart of the city and at
the junction of four main roads. The original city Bell Tower was
situated to the west of this site and the present construction was
built in 1582 and restored in 1739.
There is a
huge bell hanging on the roof of the tower which was traditionally
used to tell the time by and there are other, smaller bells on exhibit
in the tower too.
Tower can only be accessed form the Subway on Bei
Dajie where visitors must also buy their tickets.
To the west
of the Bell Tower is the Drum Tower. This is a smaller building,
situated in a lively street which is filled with street traders and
hawkers. This tower marks the entrance to the city's Muslim Quarter
which is a lovely area to wander and observe. the felling here is
almost of a "city within a city" and the streets around this
district heading up to the Mosque are like a small village crammed
with people selling all kinds of weird and wonderful things.
to get there: Both the towers are in the center of
town. Take the subway to
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Mausoleum is located on Liangshan Hill about 80 kilometers west of
Xi'an. This well preserved mausoleum is the joint tomb of the the Tang
dynasty Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian. Empress Wu's rise to
power is particularly impressive given that she became an Empress in
her own right in a society where the highest position a woman could
generally hope to obtain was that of concubine.
husband died, the Empress Wu ruled the country until her death in 707.
Criticism of this "feminist" Empress ranges from those who
saw her as little more than a whore to those who consider that she was
blood thirsty and tyrannical. No doubt all these opinions are tainted
by the simple fact that she was a woman.
The Tomb is
surrounded by headless statues of the leaders of minority peoples.
There are various historical relics here including stone engravings
and exquisitely carved stone statues. Of all the arts, sculpture
particularly blossomed during the Tang dynasty.
mausoleum is located on a hill with three peaks- two artificial and
one natural. Locals believe that the north peak resembles Empress Wu's
head and the two southern peaks resemble her breasts! There are also
other tombs around here including Princess Yong Tai's tomb- an elegant
and beautiful construction.
to get there: To get to Qianling Mausoleum take a bus
from the Long Distance Bus Station in Xi'an. Buses leave every twenty minutes and the trip takes
about two hours.
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Large Wild Goose Pagoda (dayanta) is located within the
premises of the Temple of Great Maternal Grace (Dacien Si).
This magnificent pagoda is four kilometers south of Xi'an and many
regard it as a symbol of the city. The pagoda, built in 652 A.D, is a
square pyramid and stands at 60 meters high and seven storeys tall.
Legend has it
that the Temple was built by Emperor Tang Gaozong to honor his mother,
Empress Wende. The Temple is also said to have been built to house and
protect Buddhist scriptures collected in India by the Chinese monk,
fantastic views from the top of the pagoda of the grid- like streets
below and it seems hard to believe today that the area around here was
once countryside and fields! It is tradition to throw coins from the
windows of the pagoda in the hope that this will bring good luck.
to get there: The Large Wild Goose Pagoda is in the
south of the city. To get there take bus No.41 from the train station.
Opening hours: 8:00-16:00
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Small Wild Goose Pagoda, is situated about 1km south of Xi'an city in
the grounds of Jianfu Temple. T
he Pagoda is a square brick
construction with dense eaves, 45 meters high but missing it's top
which was shaken off by an earthquake!
The pagoda is uniquely and
delicately shaped with a hollow inside and was originally built to
house Buddhist scriptures and relics.
to get there: Take bus No.3 from the Railway Station.
Entry is RMB10 to the grounds and another RMB10 to go up the Pagoda
which has great views over the city.
Opening hours: 8:00-18:00
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