The City Wall of Xi’An

In the ancient city of Xi’An, the huge fortifications built around the city, protected its inhabitants from invasions in the past. The Xi’An city wall is a magnificent, well preserved architecture, the pride of Shaanxi Province. It stands tall and strong, has passed the test of time and quite famous for the cycling spree. It also serves as one of the hot-spots for wedding photo shoots.

I was in this peaceful city of Xi’An exactly a year back, and I am very nostalgic about the events. I stayed at a traveler’s hostel and I met backpackers from around the world. After an evening of socializing with a few and talking about what our plans were for the next day, Luka a British traveler suggested we visit the Xi’An city wall. We decided to meet at the reception at 10am and then start our adventure. Vincent from Australia, Michael from Germany, Luka from Britain and I set out to see the magnificent city wall of Xi’An.

It was a beautiful morning, a cool wind blowing from the Huyain mountains, the weather was just pleasant. Michael was braving the cool wind with just a cotton shirt and was flaunting, with a few buttons open. He got many second looks since everyone else was wrapped in thick layers of woolen overalls to ward off the chilling wind, and a few passersby gave a friendly nod acknowledging his stunt.

We walked the sidewalks and navigated through the city with the help of Maps.me – it was a pleasant walk through the streets as Xi’An is a calm and serene city. We finally arrived at the north entrance of the wall and while we were collecting the entrance ticket we heard a roaring sound of drums and heavy footsteps. Out of curiosity Luka and I instantly ran to check what was happening, we took a turn, entered an arch, crossed a corridor and then we saw it. It was a show performed by impersonators of the actual warriors, a spectacular performance of the way the empire was run by the Shaanxi Warriors back in the days.

I was transported back in time and saw the love the warriors had for their land and the zest with which they pursued the attacks that came their way, to protect their land. They adorned heavy armor and it was just mesmerizing to hear the battle commands accompanied by heavy drum beats.

We have some nice pictures with them. The Xi’An city wall was an enigma in itself, we went there for site seeing but it was like a Pandoras box that opened up this awesome flash back to the past. I have fond memories of Xi’An and if you should find yourself in this beautiful town, do walk the roads at leisure and visit the City Wall. It will be well worth the time and effort.

Bell Tower @ 西安市

The city of Xi’An in the northern province of Shaanxi is a city full of visual delights. I have to agree with a friend of mine, that until you visit a place you can’t tell what the place is really like. For, you could read endless articles, but only when you set foot in that city can you tell, if the place has a soul.

One  of the most gorgeous sights as soon as you land in Xi’An is the magnificent view of the Bell Tower. It’s so exquisite and wonderful to a traveller, who has set foot in Xi’An for the very first time. It’s bound to take your breath away. This is a sight so very pleasing to the soul that it’s comforting on various levels. Just the scene of the lit up Bell Tower and the view of the Drum Tower to the far west makes the trip worthwhile.

Xi’An definitely is a city filled with surprises. People are helpful and it’s a place of tranquility and calm. The weather in November was beautiful, the breakfast is the famous Dumpling with a nutritious drink made of a bean. The energy in the city is warm, laid back and I instantly connected to it. The welcoming atmosphere instantly puts your apprehension at ease.

The Bell Tower a structure of Brick & Timber – 40 meters high was apparently built for a purpose.

A famous legend about the Bell Tower:

A dragon found in the river running through the center of Xi’An would cause massive earthquakes and kill hoards of people. An official from the Xi’An administration ordered the blacksmiths to make iron chains thousands of feet long and restored the Bell Tower. The laborers toiled day and night in an attempt to suppress the dragon & to seal it from causing further harm. Since the Bell tower was established earthquake never occurred in Xi’An again!

This was one of the most fascinating tidbit about the rich Chinese culture. The Bell Tower, in the ancient times, served the purpose of signifying the time of day. But in today’s world, it’s a prominent landmark, the Muslim Quarters and the ever famous food street starts from the west wall of the tower.

It’s looks beautiful in all its Grandeur, being lit up so immaculately with colors so vivid and full of life.  It’s a tower with a purpose, beauty, class & radiates an aura of possessing a rich cultural heritage. 

Biang Biang Mian!

Biang Biang Mian – from the exotic Shaanxi Province of Mainland China is considered a speciality noodle dish, which is scrumptious and makes you come back for more!

Biang Biang Mian is an enigma in itself, famously known as the Belt Noodle – considering its length and thickness.

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Biang Biang Mian is served in a bowl tossed in aromatic sauces, topped with lots of hot peppers to beat the cold Xi’an chills, a generous sprinkle of grated garlic, lots of freshly cut cilantro topped with marinated and barbeque meat of your choice. This is an absolute delicacy, the aroma is rich and the dish only beats the expectations one might have after just looking at it.

It was introduced to me during my backpacking trip to the Famous city of Xi’An by a dear friend Nimrod.  The first comment was about the Mandarin Symbol for this scrumptious dish – it consists of 58 strokes – quite complex even for a seasoned Mandarin writer.

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This is the Mandarin symbol for Biang Biang Mian – its pretty complex with 58 strokes!

The noodle is handmade and makes one wonder about the precision of every other inch of this noodle that transformed itself to perfection from an innocent lump of dough.

Xi’an is a beautiful city, famous for the terracotta warriors, apart from this archeological site the city has lots more to offer! The weather was beautiful and the best place to taste Biang Biang Mian is at the food street, east of the Bell Tower wall.

I hope the food lovers do get a chance to taste this dish and its worth every penny!