We have arrived in the surprisingly large city of Xi’an on a wonderfully comfortable train journey, passing through lands without any empty space, full of factories, agricultural areas and apartment blocks. There is a Muslim population of 9 million in this city. This was the most important and last stop of the ancient Silk Road.
The Chinese, who have to live in small apartments in high residential blocks, throw themselves out into the parks as much as they can, and play traditional games and dance for hours. I appreciate these habits and really like them.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
It's hard to see the blue sky in China. Ever since we arrived, the sky was covered with yellow clouds everyday except for one day in Beijing. Certainly coal burnt during winter months and factory chimneys have an effect.
Today we saw the Terracotta Warriors. These 6000 soldiers, discovered by farmers in 1974 by coincidence, are magnificent, very impressive. Nowadays, the care and attention that the Chinese offer in the protection and restoration of these soldiers is even more impressive.
They never think of digging and emptying the emperor tombs and buried treasures in them because they worry about mercury in tombs and they want to respect the dead. These artefacts made due the belief in the continuity of life after death, or rather the belief, are quite similar to the way in which the ancient Egyptians were buried. Of course in Egypt the pharaoh tombs were opened over time and the treasures inside were stolen. No matter what kind of religion, the uncertainty after death, or the willingness to believe in the continuity of life, has been very occupied mankind for the longest time...
1% of the Xi’an population is Muslim and s in the center of the city, they have a large mosque in the style of Chinese architecture, even similar to Chinese temples. Islam was brought to the last stop of the Silk Road, Xi’an by the Persians. There are blue and hazel eyed in the Muslim population in this city, even if their facial features are similar to the Chinese. The Muslim Quarter is quite a lively, dynamic, interesting place for tourists. The ezan is of course read in Arabic in the mosque but it sounds Chinese. There are even Chinese dragon figures on the mosque roof. I was wearing shorts and tshirt because I was caught unprepared. Nevertheless, it was not a problem to visit the mosque courtyard and pavilions. They seem quite relaxed and open-minded. It was the most different and interesting mosque I've ever seen. I liked it.
June 17, 2018, Sunday
It is quite humid, as in most days in China, it is cloudy and very hot, so we went to the City Wall of Xi’an. The Wall has been successfully restored and carefully protected. The Wall is decorated with dragon-shaped lamps and red lanterns. It's beautiful. Moreover, as you walk on the wall, the old Xi’an and the new Xi’an scenery look great as well.
After visiting the Buddhist temple and the city museum, we arrived at the airport of Xi’an to board our plane for Guilin. This airport is also immaculate, everyone is very friendly and helpful. We are very impressed.
Before coming to China, of course I knew that this country was a very old and sophisticated civilization and that it is a big power nowadays, but seeing with your own eyes in person is different. China is a planet in itself! The other great powers in the world need to come a long way to keep up with China.