The travel books talked about the Moslem quarter in Xian as well as the mosque. My thoughts ranged around, phew, really? No doubt a ploy by the regime to flaunt one of its more positive minority relationships. The Chinese do not seem to have a history of killing the muslim population that somehow made its way to the interior (not forgetting its arab populations along the western border) like so many of the other religious groups that live there: Christians, Buddhists, Tibetans.
I loved the vibrancy of this neighborhood. The mosque was one of the few buildings we entered in China that did not put us through a security screening. We stood there docily waiting for what we had come to think of as routine.
This market makes a lot of money for China. Every tourist goes here to shop; the locals visit for the night scene and dinner; it is at the center of the city, a location said to be some of the most valuable land in Xian.
So there's another word that describes China: money.
Small Goose Pagoda
Xian is known for several things: the Terracotta Warriors; the wall that is in excellent condition and goes all the way around the city, still; and the Goose Pagodas--Small Goose and Big Goose. This is the small goose. It was surrounded by lovely gardens. We stopped to learn some Chinese characters and calligraphy, which was a lot of fun with an excellent teacher.
Every warrior has a different face. There are horses and chariots. It is hard to describe the size of the collection, and they have not touched the most important find, the actual burial tomb of the Emperor Qin. An abundance of mercury is believed to be in the chamber where Qin is actually buried, and the Chinese do not feel they have the technology to open the tomb without destroying it or themselves.
Qin wanted to take his whole army with him into the afterlife, but his trusted advisor talked him out of it. So Qin had the terra cotta army built to be buried with him. He wanted to live forever and believed this would do the trick. Amazing that while I cannot remember the names of nearly any of China's emperors, Qin is remembered with a world renowned archeological site, commemorated in museums throughout the globe in 3 Chinese pavilions and has become a national treasure. In many ways he has enjoyed a very long life.