Beijing to Xian
in search of the Terracotta Army
Peking Xi'an, Pingyao through: a go / return "past / present".
Youtouqingtoumi? Here, the main problem is communication: when they speak English, for them it is the Chinese. China is THE ideal country to develop our skills in Pictionary and mimes. "When China awakes, the world will tremble." Well, the world can shake ... China is on its way: it consumes, it destroys it rebuilt. These are Western cities that have offered us. How was China's capital before being selected for the 2008 Olympics? In Beijing, many neighborhoods were destroyed in favor of brand new shopping centers, hotels, 2x4 routes. The bicycles have given way to cars and motorcycles. In Datong, shops and even shops, copies of famous brands, which in turn are also copied. Impressive. Nothing to do with the image we had of China. What to visit in a large country like France 17 times? Go see the Fiat Panda pandas in Sichuan? Go see Tintin in Tibet? Or go for a little ride on the Silk Road? Unable to do anything. Can not see anything. We decide to focus on near Beijing; this does not prevent us to travel almost 3000 kms anyway!
Peking Xi'an, Pingyao through: a go / return "past / present".The past is omnipresent in China. Many dynasties have succeeded: Mongolian time of Genghis Khan, the Ming, Qing ... he only misses the Ping and Pong! And all have left an imprint. Finally, a rich architectural and religious heritage.
- As any visitor who respects, we went a lil tour the Great Wall of China. The oldest part, made of earth, date of 22 centuries. It was during the Ming Dynasty it was consolidated or rebuilt, stone and it took the form we know it. Well if we understand it does not seem to be of great use during different invasions from the north ... a bit like our "Maginot Line" what!
- We were forbidden to mention it, but the quote still: the "Forbidden City", "home" of 2 Chinese dynasties (Ming and Qing) dates from the fourteenth century. At the entrance of the fixed Mao portrait proudly Tiananmen Square, the symbolic center of the Chinese universe.
- Datong Yungang Grottoes. It is here that are the first Chinese Buddhist sculptures, contemporary to the Silk Road.
- The walled city of Pingyao, the crossroads of major trade routes between Mongolia and China from the seventeenth century. The streets and houses are full of history, all the red lanterns light up ... night atmosphere "past / present" everywhere!
- Xi'an and its army of terracotta soldiers. There are 22 centuries (yes !!!) the first emperor of the Chinese dynasties had the idea to build his own tomb (and he was only 13 years old!). 500,000 men worked for 36 years in the building of more than 6000 soldiers terracotta soldiers had to protect him in the afterlife. Just awesome. Soldiers are full size (1.75 m to 1.95 m), and were real weapons.
- Mount Huashan Mountain in Shaanxi Province to a hundred kilometers east of the capital Xi'an. Culminating at 2160 m, is one of the five sacred mountains of China, mainly Taoist. The monks chose it because few people dare to follow them there. We went there and spent the night there! Great atmosphere.
A point to note: we do not feel in an oppressed country. Our only surprise, however, is for us to be denied access to our blog or Facebook-like community sites. And one for the road ... the time to read this article and over 100 Chinese lil will be born, and from the ranks of the country.