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Posts tagged “Ming

DAY 3 – MING CITY WALL, Xian, China

We chose the historical city wall to end our visit of Xian.  Constructed upon an earlier imperial fortification network of the Tang Dynasty, the First Emperor of Ming Dynasty, Hongwu (洪武), erected the 14km city wall in the 14th century.  Today, this Ming city wall has become one of the most well preserved of its kind in China.  Our taxi dropped us off at the West Gate, also known as Andingmen (安定門).  There was a belt of public park running along the city wall where the locals engaged in all kinds of activities from dancing to playing badminton.  After walking around the area for several minutes we finally found the ticket office and the stair going up to the city wall.  Up on the wall we reached another network of public space where people strolled and cycled.  Against the background of the cloudy sky and charcoal grey bricks, rows of crimson lanterns began to lit up as we walked towards the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).  It turned out to be less than an hour of leisure stroll.  Our two friends opted for cycling to complete the journey, while we chose to take our time to walk, take photos, and watch the city below gradually lit up.

dsc_8153Our taxi dropped us off at Andingmen (安定門).

dsc_8167Dusk had fallen upon Xian as we began our walk from Andingmen (安定門).

dsc_8180Signage on Xian city wall.

dsc_8191Xian city wall is a popular for cyclists.

dsc_8207Vivid lighting and red lanterns turned the city wall into a focal point of Xian at night.

dsc_8216Atmospheric dining in traditional houses seemed common along the city wall.

dsc_8243It was interesting to watch the busy street scenes as we walked.

dsc_8263Traditional architectural style is still commonly used for restaurants and hotels in Xian.

dsc_8268After slightly less than an hour of walk, we finally reached the archery tower of the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

dsc_8281Archery Tower of the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門)

dsc_8290Man played with his kid in front of the flood light of the Archery Tower .

dsc_8313The South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門) is perfectly aligned with the Bell Tower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

dsc_8319Closer up of the Archery Tower of the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

dsc_8307Descending down the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

dsc_8331The South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

dsc_8333Looking back at the Archery Tower from the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe walked through the South Gate Yongningmen (永寧門) to enter the city centre.  We ended up having a fast food dinner and finished the day early.  We needed time to pack our stuff and get ready for our morning flight the next day to Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟).

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Our posts on 2016 Xian and Jiuzhaigou:

DAY 1 – NIGHT ARRIVAL, Xian, China
DAY 2 – QIN EMPEROR’S TERRACOTTA ARMY, near Xian, China
DAY 2 – BIG WILD GOOSE PAGODA (大雁塔), Xian, China
DAY 3 – HAN YANG LING MAUSOLEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – SHAANXI HISTORY MUSEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – GREAT MOSQUE (西安大清真寺) AND MUSLIM QUARTER, Xian, China
DAY 3 – MING CITY WALL, Xian, China
DAY 4 -FIRST GLIMPSE OF JIUZHAIGOU (九寨溝), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 5 – ARROW BAMBOO LAKE (箭竹海), PANDA LAKE (熊貓海) & FIVE FLOWER LAKE (五花海), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – PEARL SHOAL FALLS (珍珠灘瀑布), MIRROR LAKE (鏡海) & NUORILANG FALLS (諾日朗瀑布), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – LONG LAKE (長海) & FIVE COLOURS LAKE (五彩池), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – RHINOCEROS LAKE (犀牛海), TIGER LAKE (老虎海) & SHUZHENG VILLAGE (樹正寨), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 6 – ASCEND TO FIVE COLOUR POND (五彩池), Huanglong (黃龍), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 7 – FAREWELL JIUZHAIGOU & XIAN, China

 

 


DAY 2 – BELL TOWER, Xian, China

After the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we taxied back to the city centre of Xian.  Before dinner, we decided to pay the beautiful Bell Tower a proper visit.  Situated at the heart of a roundabout, the Bell Tower could only be accessed via an underground passage.  We paid the admission and climbed the stair up to the podium deck of the building.  Ornate architectural carving, including the magnificent window screens, were well restored.  Since construction in 1384 during the Ming Dynasty, the Bell Tower had been restored a number of times.  The tower was damaged in the Second World War, and since then five restorations had taken place to restore the building into its former glory.  Originally built to house the bells to announce time for the city, Xian’s Bell Tower had also performed multiple functions throughout history: stage for public announcement, military beacon, temporary prison, and even the first ever film cinema in Xian.  We stayed on the podium deck for quite some time to admire the architecture and the urban scenery at all four directions, until we were urged by hunger to leave for a dumpling dinner nearby at a traditional restaurant called De Fa Chang (德發長).

dsc_7638Bell Tower in the centre of the roundabout with Drum Tower in the background.

dsc_7646Close up of the colourful timber architectural elements of the Bell Tower.

dsc_7650Across the street from the roundabout stands the equally important Drum Tower.

dsc_7661The Bell Tower and roundabout in 1960.

dsc_7664The beam and purlin system that supports the big roof of Bell Tower.

dsc_7668Close up of the beams and purlins.

dsc_7665Walking out to the deck of the upper level.

dsc_7705A smaller version of the famous Jingyun Bell (cast in AD711 during Tang Dynasty) was on display on the Bell Tower.

dsc_7708Stair back down to the base of the Bell Tower.

dsc_7736Bell and Drum Tower Square adjacent to the Bell Tower roundabout.

dsc_7743The Drum Tower as seen from the Bell and Drum Tower Square.

dsc_7750Dumpling dinner at De Fa Chang Restaurant.


DAY 1 – NIGHT ARRIVAL, Xian, China

In Mid-October, we had the opportunity to reunite with two of our travel buddies for a short trip to China.  It was the week after the week-long Chinese National Holiday.  We had a simple travel plan consisted of two distinct parts: Xian (西安) for history and Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝) for natural scenery.  Xian, historically known as Changan (長安), was the ancient capital of China for 13 different dynasties, spanning a total period of over 1200 years, including the golden age of Han and Tang Dynasty.  The ruins of ancient royal palaces and tombs, such as the magnificent Terra-cotta Warriors of the First Qin Emperor, revealed the former glory of ancient China.  Jiuzhaigou, on the other hand, has been renowned for its out-of-this-world alpine scenery.  It is located at the north of Sichuan Province (四川) where the plains of Eastern and Central China begins to give way to the Tibetan and Qinghai Plateau.

After a minor delay, we flew out of Hong Kong in a Saturday afternoon.  It was already dusk by the time we landed at Xian Xianyang Interational Airport.  We took an airport bus into the city, and taxied the rest of the way to our hostel south of Xincheung Square (新城廣場).  Our taxi passed by the well-preserved Ming city wall and the brightly lit historical Bell Tower.  After getting off, it took us a while to find the alleyway where our hostel was located.  We were delighted to find our hostel room clean and comfortable.  After checking in, we headed out immediately to grab a quick dinner.  According to guidebook, an old famous restaurant of Shaanxi Muslim food called Lao Sun Jia (老孫家) was just five minutes of walk from our hostel.  We found our way to the restaurant at the fourth floor of a retail centre.  It was about 21:00 and there was only one table of guests finishing off their beer and noodles.  We sat down and ordered the popular paomo (泡饃), or crumbled flatbread in either mutton or beef stew. 

After dinner, we wanted to checked out the beautiful Bell Tower (鐘樓) right at the historical heart of Xian.  It was another five minute of walk from the restaurant.  The tower was already close for the day, but we could still admire the historical architecture across the street from the tower’s roundabout.  This handsome piece of traditional architecture was an icon of Xian.  In the old days since the 14th century, the tower’s main function was to mark the moment of dawn with its bells.  A few blocks away, we noticed another historical building prominently lit up.  It was the Drum Tower (鼓樓), the building that originally housed 28 drums to mark the day’s end at dusk.  Around the corner from the Drum Tower, we entered a busy pedestrian streets packed with snack vendors.  We had entered Beiyuanmen (北院門) Street, the core of Xian’s Muslim Quarter.  It was almost 10pm but the street was still busy with visitors.  There were a number of vendors selling barbecue lamb kebabs, mutton or beef sandwiches, local pomegranate juices, traditional sweets, nuts, persimmon cakes, and many other kinds of desserts.  After the filling meal of paomo, we gave it a pass for the street food.  We slowly walked back to our hostel, hoping to get some good rest.  In the next morning we would exit Xian and head eastwards to the foot of Lishan Mountains to check out the most popular tourist attraction of Xian: the First Qin Emperor’s Terra-cotta Warriors.

dsc_7127Mutton paomo (泡饃) at Lao Sun Jia Restaurant (老孫家).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeef paomo (泡饃) at Lao Sun Jia Restaurant (老孫家).

dsc_7131Heading towards the icon of Xian, the Bell Tower (鐘樓).

dsc_7152The Bell Tower stands at the centre of a large roundabout.

dsc_7166The 14th century structure is lit up with atmospheric lighting.

dsc_7186The Drum Tower at a distance, and in front, the public square between Bell Tower and Drum Tower.  The square is flanked by local restaurants, a department store, and a Starbucks.

dsc_7204Signage at the Drum Tower.

dsc_7208The mighty Drum Tower near the entrance to the Muslim Quarter.

dsc_7220Street vendor of lamb kebabs at the Muslim Quarter.  There were terrifying lamb skeletons hanging in front of each kebab store.

dsc_7227Beiyuanmen (北院門) Street, the main pedestrian street at the Muslim Quarter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVendor selling regional pomegranate juice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARose cake, another kind of local dessert.

dsc_7229Kebab stores were the most popular.

dsc_7235Muslim beef sandwiches.

dsc_7244Vendor handling of sweet being heated up.

dsc_7245Persimmon cakes and a friendly smile.

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Our posts on 2016 Xian and Jiuzhaigou:

DAY 1 – NIGHT ARRIVAL, Xian, China
DAY 2 – QIN EMPEROR’S TERRACOTTA ARMY, near Xian, China
DAY 2 – BIG WILD GOOSE PAGODA (大雁塔), Xian, China
DAY 3 – HAN YANG LING MAUSOLEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – SHAANXI HISTORY MUSEUM, Xian, China
DAY 3 – GREAT MOSQUE (西安大清真寺) AND MUSLIM QUARTER, Xian, China
DAY 3 – MING CITY WALL, Xian, China
DAY 4 -FIRST GLIMPSE OF JIUZHAIGOU (九寨溝), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 5 – ARROW BAMBOO LAKE (箭竹海), PANDA LAKE (熊貓海) & FIVE FLOWER LAKE (五花海), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – PEARL SHOAL FALLS (珍珠灘瀑布), MIRROR LAKE (鏡海) & NUORILANG FALLS (諾日朗瀑布), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – LONG LAKE (長海) & FIVE COLOURS LAKE (五彩池), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 5 – RHINOCEROS LAKE (犀牛海), TIGER LAKE (老虎海) & SHUZHENG VILLAGE (樹正寨), Jiuzhaigou (九寨溝), China
DAY 6 – ASCEND TO FIVE COLOUR POND (五彩池), Huanglong (黃龍), Sichuan (四川), China
DAY 7 – FAREWELL JIUZHAIGOU & XIAN, China