Central to the mega-city of Xi’an is a mammoth and ancient city wall. There is so much to explore, one way to set a program in the city is the delineate between what is inside and outside the great wall of Xi’an.
Outside the wall – on the outskirts of the city – is the stunning Terracotta Warrior exhibit that is almost synonymous with Xi’an itself. It is the reason most tourists come to Xi’an, and it does not disappoint. The huge scale and the minute details are both overwhelming.
And then there is the city wall itself – the most impressive I’ve seen in China. Massive watch towers. Massive gates. Massive sloped walls – 14 kilometers long in a giant square.
The city wall is backdrop to life in Xi’an – a place to celebrate life in both routine and special ways.
Parallel to the wall is a moat of epic proportions. Locals gather in the parks along the edge to picnic and to dance with wild abandon – something you see often in China. Where there is music there will be dancing.
The city wall and moat originally defined a royal compound, but now it is home to 2 million city-dwellers in a beautiful and modern city.
A special part of the city is the Muslim Quarter – shops and food with an Islamic appeal. The street food is particularly famous – again, so amazing that it warranted a separate photoblog!
The Muslim Quarter is busy, noise and congested in a satisfying way – a feast for all the senses.
Inside the market is the Grand Mosque – a surprising place of calm and quiet. It is unlike mosques in the Middle East where I live – distinctly Chinese looking with Arabic touches.
My little hotel was just inside the city wall. Best amenities packing ever!!!
Morning was the street market magic – for the day’s groceries and maybe some plants or shoes or whatever.
Afternoon was a stroll down my street.
Evening was a bowl of noodles and then a nightcap at the club next door.
Life seemed timeless on this street that separates inside from outside the great wall of Xi’an.