Once reaching Guilin, we only had time to visit the Flute Reed Caves. The reeds in this area are used to make...flutes.
( Day 5, Guilin )
It is estimated that there will be 8,000 such figures once the entire site is excavated. So far only a small percentage has been unearthed. The majority still lie buried and will likely remain so until the technology to preserve them becomes more advanced. Once the figures are dug up, the colouring and other features decay and are lost. The main tomb for the Qin Emperor has also been left unopened in order to preserve it.
( Onto the pictures... )
Then we flew to Xian, which was the ancient capital of China for 13 dynasties. The main attraction that we're all looking forward to, is seeing the dig site for the terra cotta warriors. But that's tomorrow, Day 4.
One disadvantage of flying between the cities is the luggage restrictions for the domestic flights. Only one checked-in baggage (44 lbs) and one carry-on.
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( Onto the pics... )
So far it's been very hectic. The 9 day tour through China was fantastic. We hit alot of the historic and natural sights I've always wanted to see. Here's a brief synopsis of the trip so far.
First Day (flying to Beijing, 13 1/2 hours)
The red-eye flight was long but uneventful. We arrived around 6pm, met the other people on the tour. Some are from Vancouver, Calgary, the US and one from Australia. Went to a nice chinese dinner, but was too tired to remember much from it. Went to the Jade Palace Hotel and crashed for the night.
Day Two (Beijing)
This was a full day with the highlights being visits to Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.
We arrived at Tienanmien Square first. It truly is huge. Loads of tourists. It's hard to believe that a week ago, during the China's nationalist holiday that there were even more people. The square is surrounded by two ancient towers on one end, the entrance to the Forbidden City (with Chairman Mao's portrait on the wall), the Great Hall and the National Museum. Inside the square, other than for the hordes of people, was a lantern display left over from the national holiday plus a popular one for the Olympics.
This visit verified something that I had heard when visiting the National Palace museum in Taiwan. It was said that the majority of the relics from the Forbidden City were taken away by Chiang Kai-Shek and the people who founded Taiwan. Well, it appears that this is a fact. In a tour of the Imperial Palace, we were told that 70% of the artifacts from the palace did indeed reside in Taiwan. The only things that weren't taken were mainly the things too large to be moved.
Visiting these two sites, I'm really struck by how grand a scale everything is. They don't do things by halves here, not even in the ancient days, which made the living areas surprising. The personal living area (bedroom) for the Emperor and his concubines (of course there were up to 3000 of them at one time) are quite small in comparison to the Palace grounds, the gardens, etc.
The Temple of Heaven is a large round temple that was constructed without any nails. Each piece fits exactly.
There was also an acrobatic show in the evening to round out the day.
( Here are some pics from the first sight-seeing day )