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Around The Ancient Xian Walls In Eighty Ways

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Walls mate! Ever feel trapped by walls and want to get out? No? Neither do I! You probably wouldn't believe it when I tell you what I did today. Back to the walls again but this time instead of walking the nearing fourteen kilometers on top of the walls I decided to walk the nearing fourteen kilometers around the bottom of the walls but in the opposite direction. Mate I had a fantastic day and I got to see so much. I began the day searching for a China Mobile in hope to put some money on my mobile but of course they couldn't do it as my mobile is from a small city on Fujian Province. China may boast the world's biggest mobile network but once again it fails when you try to do a simple thing such as putting money onto your phone in a different province. Such a simple bloody thing! I mean come on! I then decided to re-begin my day and headed across to the West Gate. When I arrived there I headed outside the city walls and slowly made my way north along the beautiful gardened pathway towards Huancheng Beilu. Not long after I turned the north western corner I decided to head back inside the walls as the train lines are ugly and I couldn't be bothered being mobbed by all the different 'You Buy You Buy' people that hammer you whenever you get anywhere near the train station. Instead I was almost raped by all the 'I love you long time' girls. They can be found all the way along Sixth and Seventh Streets if you are interested. I somehow arrived at the Eastern Wall unscathed and with the day's virginity intact and headed back outside the walls. I slowly made my way walking south and by the time I reached the South Gate (three quarters into my walk) the sun slowly began making its way beneath the great quilt in the sky. The south western section of the wall seemed to be the most popular section. Here there are a heap of new buildings on the moat side and thousands of locals all dancing to their hearts content. Children spend their time rollerblading, skateboarding and running riot around the place. I arrived back at the West Gate around half past seven which was five hours after I left. So how was today's adventure walking around the city wall? I loved it and would suggest it to anyone who comes to Xian though once again I would probably suggest to hire a bike and not walk it like me. But I didn't see anyone on a bike so maybe it bikes are not allowed along these beautiful paths. As stated above, the walls are around fourteen kilometers around and if you don't stop and look around and do nothing but walk staring straight ahead then you would not only be an idiot but you would complete it in around three hours. But! Unlike yesterdays walk I would suggest to begin in the morning or around midday as the pathways are not brightly lit and after dark there really isn't much to see. During the daylight hours you get so see so much of what the locals get up to. I only encountered about two other foreigners on my walk and none of it is actually built for tourism. Here you will find locals 'doing whatever it is' that local Chinese do to pass their day. Playing Chinese chess, sunning their Chinese birds (whatever they are), doing their daily exercises, sleeping on the park benches, dancing, couples doing what ever it is that couples do as they seat themselves further into the gardens, the elderly playing Mahjong and children rollerblading and running around the place screaming and yelling having fun. But the most beautiful thing about the walk is that all of the gardens are very well cared for. There are no weeds, all the trees are shaped and well watered, the free exercise equipment and table tennis tables are all in good condition and there are places to buy water and snacks located all around the walk. But I guess for me the biggest difference between here much of China and my home is the fact that things just aren't vandalized! It seems to me that in most western countries people want to vandalise things and break them. You could never have a vegetable patch outside your front door or hang your washing along the main street. It wouldn't last as your vegetables and clothes would be either stolen or thrown everywhere. Why? For fun!. I know I could hang my clothes outside the front of my apartment here like everyone else does but I wouldn't do it. I honestly could be here for fifty years and I would always hang my clothes to dry in the back room or balcony. I come from a world where you wouldn't do such things because someone would destroy it just for fun. But if any of my friends or family really want to question this and think that I am making Australia or any western country sound 'bad' simply think, would you hang a clothes line outside your front door, I mean actually on the footpath to dry your clothes or vegetables and leave them there? Buggered if I would mate! We are provided with free gas bbq's etc in parks and gardens and man y of them simply vandalized for the fun of it. I would never hang my clothes outside my front door on a main road. They would be stolen, ripped apart or even pissed on and left on the ground by those who think it is funny. But here in China it is normal. Don't get me wrong as I'm sure these things do happen but not to the extreme that I happens at home and that is why we simply would hang out clothes out on the street etc. Seriously, I don't care how many people tell me it is ok to do such things and it doesn't matter how many years and cities I walk though, I guess I am from a different society where you would have to be insane to do such a thing. But then again I doubt those whom live in the more affluent societies here in China, such as Shenzen and Shanghai would hang their clothes outside either. Money breeds greed and it also attracts those who 'want' or are drawn to both. Sadly the more western China becomes the less clothes we will see hung outside apartment buildings! Life is what you make it and it is your time and your choice. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane PS: below is a copy of the Wall information from yesterdays' entry. Photo's can be found beneath as usual. _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by Endorphin The album was 'Skin' __________________________________________________________ <u>Xian</u>[/i]<u> City</u>[/i]</b><u> Walls: (I think this was from www.travelchina.com)</u>[/i]</b> </b> [/i] One of only two cities with intact surrounding walls in China. [/i] [/i] Xian's has been restored and is wide enough to easily ride 5 bikes across. You can hire one at the top of the South gate. If you want to foot it though, a complete loop of the walls takes approximately 3 hours. The landscaped park around the base of the exterior walls and moat also makes for a pleasant stroll and gives a different perspective on the battlements and towers. [/i] [/i] When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should 'built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,' so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. [/i] [/i] After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xian City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.[/i] [/i] After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet) wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. [/i] [/i] Every 120 meters, there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts on the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. [/i] [/i] On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.[/i] [/i] Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. [/i] [/i] It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square. [/i] [/i] Each city gate has three gate towers: Zhenglou, Jianlou and Zhalou. The most outside is Zhalou, which stands away from the City Wall and is opposite to Zhenglou. It was used to raise and lower the suspension bridge. Jianlou with small windows in the front and flanks was used as a defensive outpost. Zhenglou, in the inner, is the main entrance to the city. The wall connects Jianlou and Zhenglou Towers. The area between them within the wall was called 'Wong Cheng', in which the soldiers stationed. From Wong Cheng, there are sloped horse passages leading to the top of the city wall. Initially, the wall was built with layers of dirt, with the base layer including also lime and glutinous rice extract. [/i] [/i] Throughout the time Xian City Wall has been restored three times. [/i] [/i] In 1568, Zhang Zhi (the government officer of that period) was in charge to rebuild the wall with bricks. In 1781, another officer, Bi Yuan, refitted the city wall and the gate towers. More recently (since 1983) the Shaanxi Provincial Government restored the city wall again. A circular park has been built along the high wall and the deep moat. The thriving trees and flowers decorate the classical Chinese architecture of the wall, adding additional beauty to the city of Xian.

Xian Around The Wall Adventure II

Xian Around The Wall Adventure II


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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