After spending a couple of days in China’s current capital city, we decided to head south-west to China’s ancient capital city, Xi’an, which literally translates into ‘West Peace’.

Despite it’s 3,100 years of imperial history, Xi’an is now an extremely modern and in many senses, ‘new’ city. We were all amazed at the development – from the many (empty) apartment buildings on the outskirts of the city to the new train station and building of the monorail to supplement their already comprehensive public transport system.

Today, ancient Xi’an can only be seen in its 13.7km city wall (last picture), giant museums and pyramid-shaped mounds of earth that are the Emperors’ mausoleums.

Our journey to the olden days started by visiting the life-size terracotta army that was buried with the first Emperor of China 2,200 years ago.  The 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariot and 600+ horses were for his protection in the after-life (paranoia or vanity?!). The army was only found in 1974 by a group of farmers that were attempting to build a well!

The next day we took the bullet train (travelling at 300km per hour!) to see the Longmen caves (where 100,000 Buddha’s have been carved into rocks) and visit the Shaolin temple where Kungfu was invented by the Buddhist monks.

The picture of the tree trunk with the holes in it is said to have become like that after years of monks practicing Kungfu on it. The holes were made by repeatedly driving their index fingers into the bark…

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