Xian, Shaanxi Province, China (March 2003 and March 2008)

Xian was the capital of many of China's earlier Dynasties, including the Tang Dynasty. Xian hosts numerous artifacts of Imperial China, including the City Wall which was first constructed in the Sui Dynasty with the current one rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty. The South Gate is one of the many entries into the city wall park (cost 40 Yuan), and the entire wall (less than 10 km) can be traversed by walking or bicycling (20 Yuan) or by tour shuttle, and there are many beautiful scenes. One of the hidden gems in this city is a museum of Neolithic People called the Banpo Museum. Burial tombs of these Stone Age people also have pottery. Some primitive writing on shards of pottery dating from 6000 years ago look surprisingly like the modern Roman alphabet (see K, A, X, E, S). A hours drive west of Xian is the reputed origin of agriculture in Canada. There is a mythical tale of the God of Agriculture who introduced knowledge of cropping to the Chinese people, so the School of Agriculture was built here in in Yangling. The Northwest A&F University, like many Universities across China is undergoing a rebirth, and this scene looks like an office building or a mall, but is actually the plant biology building.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian, China. March, 2005
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, just south of the Xian city center dates from the Tang Dynasty (600 AD) and previously housed original Sanskrit Buddhist texts which were brought over from India. 25 Yuan entry fee.

The Terra Cotta Soldiers, Xian, China. March, 2005
The Terra Cotta Soldiers are found near the tomb of the "First Emperor", and the site is located to the west of Xian. Three large buildings house the three major digs (soliders, generals, command center). An extensive museum has very impressive artifacts, but most of the signs are only in Chinese. Well worth the 90 Yuan entry fee.

Bronze Chariot, Xian, China. March, 2005
The Bronze Chariot was found near the tomb of the "First Emperor"

Crypt holding the Sakyamuni finger bones, Famen Temple, Xian, China. March, 2005
The finger bones of the Buddha Sakyamuni were just recently rediscovered. There were a total of four bones, in elaborate boxes, 3 of which were decoys

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