Saturday, June 14, 2008

China Day 15: Walking Another Wall

We drove back into Xi'an from the village, and in the center of one roundabout Fred pointed out this statue:
which commemorates Xi'an's role as one end of the famous Silk Road. This part of China had a lot of contact with the West due to this trade route, and it is more culturally diverse than most areas.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Western Gate of the City Wall.
We thought it was very thoughtful of the builders to make the gate just exactly wide and tall enough for our bus!

Xi'an has the only complete Ming-era city wall left in China. This wall surrounds the old part of town and is around 13 km in circumference; if we had had three hours to spare we could have walked it, and in fact they run a marathon up there every year! It's several stories tall:
and about 60 feet wide:
with two gatehouses/archery towers atop it. They are restoring one of the towers
but the other one is beautiful;
shockingly it contains a gift shop!

You can rent a bike and ride it up here on the wall:
I'd have loved to have the chance to do that, too!

It's very lovely up here. There are banner poles with red flags and drum-shaped things hanging from them; they are topped with little dragons:
There are large bronze bells
as well as the coolest trash cans I've ever seen.
But as pretty as the wall itself is, the real attraction was the view over its edge:
In the mist, Xi'an spread out below us looking romantically beautiful.

See the red awning way on the right?
It's an ice cream store! Dad and I celebrated the occasion as seemed appropriate:

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