The City on the Silk Road - Xian

Stock Photography By Dennis Kraft

For well over a thousand years, Xian lay at the end of the fabled Silk Road welcoming travellers from across Asia and watching departing caravans heading West. Today, the city is an amazing blend of old and new, mixing history with modern life. It is home to a famed Muslim community that has flourished for centuries and still attracts teeming crowds in search of unique gifts and tasty foods. The city's Bell and Drum Towers shine at night, and nearby, the 2200 year old Terracotta warriors si

Xian Bell Tower 03
Xian Bell Tower 03
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© Dennis Kraft
Xian Bell Tower 02
Xian Bell Tower 02
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Xian Bell Tower 01
Xian Bell Tower 01
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Xian Bell Tower 06
Xian Bell Tower 06
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Xian Bell Tower 05
Xian Bell Tower 05
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Xian Bell Tower with Drum Tower in the Background 04
Xian Bell Tower with Drum Tower
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Xian Drum Tower and Shoppers 08
Xian Drum Tower and Shoppers 08
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Xian Drum Tower 07
Xian Drum Tower 07
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Xian City Life Shopping Centre 23
Xian City Life Shopping Centre
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Xian 12 City Walls South Gate
Xian 12 City Walls South Gate
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Xian  11 City Walls and Gates
Xian 11 City Walls and Gates
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Xian City 09 Walls and Gates
Xian City 09 Walls and Gates
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Xian 14 City Walls and Gates
Xian 14 City Walls and Gates
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Xian 10 City Wall at Night
Xian 10 City Wall at Night
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Xian 15 City Wall Moat
Xian 15 City Wall Moat
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© Dennis Kraft
Xian 13 City Wall and Lanterns Night
Xian 13 City Wall and Lanterns
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Xian 26 Chinese Tang Dancing Program Hostess
Xian 26 Chinese Tang Dancing
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Xian 27 Muslim Quarter Lion at Beiyuanmen Muslim Street
Xian 27 Muslim Quarter Lion at
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Xian 30 Muslim Quarter
Xian 30 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 31 Muslim Quarter
Xian 31 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 28 Muslim Quarter Spice Booth
Xian 28 Muslim Quarter Spice
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Xian Muslim Quarter Cat
Xian Muslim Quarter Cat
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Xian 33 Muslim Quarter
Xian 33 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 32 Muslim Quarter
Xian 32 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 36 Muslim Quarter Red Pepper Stall B
Xian 36 Muslim Quarter Red
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People of China 11 Vendor in Xian
People of China 11 Vendor in
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Xian 35 Muslim Quarter Red Pepper Stall A
Xian 35 Muslim Quarter Red
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Xian 37 Muslim Quarter
Xian 37 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 41 Muslim Quarter
Xian 41 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 40 Muslim Quarter
Xian 40 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 38 Muslim Quarter
Xian 38 Muslim Quarter
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Xian  42 Muslim Quarter
Xian 42 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 29 Muslim Quarter
Xian 29 Muslim Quarter
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Xian 34  Muslim Quarter
Xian 34 Muslim Quarter
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People of China 19 Xian Night Market
People of China 19 Xian Night
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People of China 15
People of China 15
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Xian 25 Chinese Opera Tea House
Xian 25 Chinese Opera Tea House
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Xian City Life Communal Bicycles 24
Xian City Life Communal
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Xian City Life Old Street 22
Xian City Life Old Street 22
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Xian City Paifang Gate 20
Xian City Paifang Gate 20
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Xian City Paifang Gate 21
Xian City Paifang Gate 21
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Xian 18 Da Cie En Temple Complex
Xian 18 Da Cie En Temple
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Xian  16 Wild Goose Pagoda
Xian 16 Wild Goose Pagoda
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Xian 19 Da Cie En Temple Complex Wall Decorations
Xian 19 Da Cie En Temple
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© Dennis Kraft
People of China 16 Xian Tang Dynasty Musicians
People of China 16 Xian Tang
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People of China 18 Xian Tang Dynasty Musicians
People of China 18 Xian Tang
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People of China  20 Xian Tang Dynasty Dancer
People of China 20 Xian Tang
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People of China 17 Xian Tang Dynasty Dancer
People of China 17 Xian Tang
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors Vault 1- 05
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 04
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 09
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 01
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 10
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 06
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 02
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 03
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 07
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 08
Xian - The Terracotta Warriors
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Image Details for The City on the Silk Road - Xian

1. Xian Bell Tower 03. The bell tower was situated directly between the North and South gates of the city. It was also a location where information and news of events in the city were shared.

2. Xian Bell Tower 02. The Bell Tower has an interesting history. In the revolution of 1911, rebels fought the Qing army here. In 1927, the first cinema in Xian and the first sound cinema in China was set up and run out of the Bell Tower by Chinese businessman named Shilin who had gone to the US as a student and returned to China. It was also bombed and damaged by the Japanese on October 10th, 1939.

3. Xian Bell Tower 01. At the centre of Xian lies the iconic Ming architectural style Bell Tower. It was built in 1384 AD and stands 40 metres high. It is named the Bell Tower because in earlier times, every morning, a large bronze bell would be rung to mark the beginning of the day.

4. Xian Bell Tower 06. Today, the Bell tower of Xian lies at the juncture of several busy roads and a major shopping area. The famed Muslim quarter of Xian lies a short walking distance away.

5. Xian Bell Tower 05. Today, the Bell tower of Xian lies at the juncture of several busy roads and a major shopping area. The famed Muslim quarter of Xian lies a short walking distance away.

6. Xian Bell Tower with Drum Tower in the Background 04. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Bell Tower has been repaired and renovated five times. The Bell Tower is approximately 1000 metres from the Drum Tower.

7. Xian Drum Tower and Shoppers 08. The Drum Tower of Xian is on the edge of the Muslim quarter and in the midst of a modern shopping area. Night time brings crowds of people to the area to enjoy food, shopping and to people watch.

8. Xian Drum Tower 07. In the centre of Xian, a mere thousand metres from the Xian Bell Tower, lies the Drum Tower. It was built in 1380 during the Ming Dynasty. At one time a drum was beaten at sunset to indicate the end of the day. The drum tower has a number of large drums on display on the first floor.

9. Xian City Life Shopping Centre 23 . Xian is a fascinating city with a mix of old streets and shiny new shopping malls. It is possible to wander down leafy tree lined streets or browse through gleaming modern multi-floored shopping centres.

10. Xian 12 City Walls South Gate . The South Gate also called Yongning Gate is the showpiece of the wall and was re-opened to the public on September 6th, 2014. Official ceremonies such as a visit by Michelle Obama are carried out here. The South Gate also has two museums, the Barbican and the Archery tower. The Xian city walls are under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

11. Xian 11 City Walls and Gates . Xian's city wall is rectangular in shape and takes about 4 hours to walk. It is 12 metres in height and 12 to 14 metres in width with a base that is 15 to 18 metres in width. Ramparts are build at 120 metres, it has 4 watch towers and the wall has 5,984 crenellations. It is also possible to cycle around the city wall in 1.5 to 2 hours.

12. Xian City 09 Walls and Gates . Xian has what is considered the most largest, most complete and best preserved city wall in China. Built over three periods in the 14th, 16th, and 18th centuries, it encloses 14 square kilometres.

13. Xian 14 City Walls and Gates . The Xian city wall towers are lit up at night.

14. Xian 10 City Wall at Night. Because Xian was at the end of the Silk Road and key to trade, it was considered an imperial city during the Sui and Tang dynasties, and a strong wall was considered vital to the protection of the city. The wall was build over over pre-existing palace walls of the Tang Dynasty.

15. Xian 15 City Wall Moat. Surrounding the city walls of Xian is a moat that was restored in 1983. The moat is 18 metres wide and 6 metres deep and it is not uncommon to see tourist boats plying its waters.

16. Xian 13 City Wall and Lanterns Night. Xian's city walls are lit up at night. There are also public paths and numerous plazas on the outside of the walls making it a pleasant place to wander.

17. Xian 26 Chinese Tang Dancing Program Hostess. Xian is a city that values its culture. The Tang Dance Show of Xian is world famous and is performed nightly for tourists. This young hostess greets guests to the show in Tang costume.

18. Xian 27 Muslim Quarter Lion at Beiyuanmen Muslim Street. A Chinese lion greets shoppers at the Beiyuanmen Street entrance where vendors hawk a variety of snack foods. In the late afternoons and evenings, large crowds wander and intermingle, eat, chat, people watch, and shop.

19. Xian 30 Muslim Quarter . Trade brought merchants from Arabia, Central Asia, Persia and with it the Muslim religion. The Emperor Gao Zong of the Tang Dynasty officially allowed the practice of Islam in Xian in 657 AD. Through intermarriage, Islamic culture found a foothold in Xian and many of those in Xian today are descended from Muslim traders and diplomatic envoys.

20. Xian 31 Muslim Quarter . The Muslim Quarter market streets are always filled with colour and people.

21. Xian 28 Muslim Quarter Spice Booth. A tantalizing variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and lentils can be found throughout the Muslim Quarter in market booths.

22. Xian Muslim Quarter Cat. A cat takes a quiet nap in Xian's Muslim Quarter.

23. Xian 33 Muslim Quarter . It is estimated that there are 50,000 Hui Muslims living in Xian and approximately 20,000 live in the Muslim Quarter. Most are devout Muslims and the community is close knit. There are ten mosques in the Muslim Quarter including the Great Mosque. The Muslim Quarter is famous throughout China for both the variety of items for sale within it's confines but also the food.

24. Xian 32 Muslim Quarter . The Muslim Quarter is famous throughout China for both the variety of items for sale within its confines but also the food.

25. Xian 36 Muslim Quarter Red Pepper Stall B. Xian Szechuan pepper hangs in bunches above this vendors stall. The peppers are used extensively in the spicy dishes of middle and Western China.

26. People of China 11 Vendor in Xian. A vendor prepares, cooks and sells mutton skewers in the Muslim quarter of Xian.

27. Xian 35 Muslim Quarter Red Pepper Stall A. Xian lies at the end of the Silk Road, a major commercial route that facilitated the passing of goods from the East to the West and back again. Trade brought traders from Arabia, Central Asia, Persia and with it the Muslim religion. The Emperor Gao Zong of the Tang Dynasty officially allowed the practice of Islam in Xian in 657 AD. Through intermarriage, Islamic culture found a foothold in Xian and many of those in Xian today are descended from Muslim traders and diplomatic envoys. It is es

28. Xian 37 Muslim Quarter . At night, the streets of the Muslim Quarter come alive with locals and visitors to the city.

29. Xian 41 Muslim Quarter . At night the Muslim Quarter fills up with shoppers, sight seers, and crowds of families and friends looking for special deals, tasty snacks or simply drinking in the sights, sounds and smells of the busy lanes.

30. Xian 40 Muslim Quarter . After a fifteen minute wait, I caught a momentary lull in the crowd to capture these two vendors working their trade in the Muslim Quarter.

31. Xian 38 Muslim Quarter . Xian lies at the end of the Silk Road, a major commercial route that facilitated the passing of goods from the East to the West and back again. Xian continues to be a major commercial hub and attracts shoppers and tourists from Asian and around the world.

32. Xian 42 Muslim Quarter . Shoppers and tourists wander down a street in the Muslim Quarter.

33. Xian 29 Muslim Quarter . In the Muslim quarter here are quieter market streets that sell vegetables, fruit, local spices, and staples.

34. Xian 34 Muslim Quarter . Xian lies at the end of the Silk Road, a major commercial route that facilitated the passing of goods from the East to the West and back again. In the Muslim quarter here are quieter market streets that sell vegetables, spices, and staples.

35. People of China 19 Xian Night Market . This photo was taken in Xian's Muslim Quarter in the night market. A lively and fascinating place to wander filled with smells, sights and sounds to overload the senses.

36. People of China 15 . A dumpling vendor in the Muslim quarter in Xian, poses for his picture near his stove.

37. Xian 25 Chinese Opera Tea House. Xian is a city that values its culture. This photo is of a small opera theatre that showcases and presents Chinese opera, an art form alive and well in Xian.

38. Xian City Life Communal Bicycles 24. Like many cities in China it is now possible for residents of Xian to borrow bicycles, ride to their destinations and deposit the bicycle at another drop-off place.

39. Xian City Life Old Street 22. Xian is a fascinating city with a mix of old streets and shiny new shopping malls. It is possible to wander down leafy tree lined streets or browse through gleaming modern multi-floored shopping centres.

40. Xian City Paifang Gate 20. Paifangs are decorative archways that were originally used to mark the separation of sections of a city or town. They reached their most elaborate stage during the Tang Dynasty and eventually also became decorative or memorial gateways. This paifang in Xiang marks the boundary to a section of the city.

41. Xian City Paifang Gate 21. Paifangs are decorative archways that were originally used to mark the separation of sections of a city or town. They reached their most elaborate stage during the Tang Dynasty and eventually also became decorative or memorial gateways. This paifang in Xiang marks the boundary to a section of the city.

42. Xian 18 Da Cie En Temple Complex. Important to the development of the Buddhist community of China, the Da Cie En Temple complex was built in 652. It also houses the famed Wild Goose Pagoda seen behind. Da Cie En Temple has been a predominant centre of Buddhist philosophy and learning since the 7th century. The first Abbot was Xuanzang, the famed wandering monk. Today the area has a number of attractions and is a major tourist site.

43. Xian 16 Wild Goose Pagoda . Xian is home to the Famed Wild Goose Pagoda located int he Da Ci en Temple Complex. The pagoda is about 4 kilometres from Downtown Xian and was built in 652 Ad during the Tang Dynasty. It is 64.5 metres tall and considered a classic of Chinese architecture. There are a number of different stories about how it received it's name. One is that the name represents wandering Buddhist monks who were like wild geese spreading Buddhism.

44. Xian 19 Da Cie En Temple Complex Wall Decorations. Xian has what is considered the most largest, most complete and best preserved city wall in China. Built over three periods in the 14th, 16th, and 18th centuries, it encloses 14 square kilometres. Because Xian was at the end of the Silk Road and key to trade it was considered an imperial city during the Sui and Tang dynasties. The wall was build over over pre-existing palace walls of the Tang Dynasty. The city wall is rectangular in shape and takes about four hours to walk. It is 12 metres i

45. People of China 16 Xian Tang Dynasty Musicians. One of the most popular attractions in Xi'an is the Tang Dynasty dancers. A dumpling banquet is followed by a dance and music performance celebrating China's Tang Dynasty heritage.

46. People of China 18 Xian Tang Dynasty Musicians. One of the most popular attractions in Xian is the Tang Dynasty dancers. A dumpling banquet is followed by a dance and music performance celebrating China's Tang Dynasty heritage.

47. People of China 20 Xian Tang Dynasty Dancer . One of the most popular attractions in Xi'an is the Tang Dynasty dancers. A dumpling banquet is followed by a dance and music performance celebrating China's Tang Dynasty heritage.

48. People of China 17 Xian Tang Dynasty Dancer . One of the most popular attractions in Xiian is the Tang Dynasty dancers. A dumpling banquet is followed by a dance and music performance celebrating China's Tang Dynasty heritage.

49. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors Vault 1- 05. The collection is housed in four vaults. This is a photo showing one of the smaller vaults believed to be the command post for the army as it contained warriors in officer's armour and garb.

50. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 04. The army was buried in military formation complete with officers, soldiers, crossbow men and flanking calvary. The faces of each the warriors is unique and it is believed that 8 general molds were used to construct the faces and then modified with clay to individualize their appearance. The terracotta warriors were constructed to be approximately 20 cm taller than real life soldiers of the time, to make them more intimidating.

51. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 09. There are an estimated 6000 Terracotta warriors,130 chariots, 400 horses. and 100,000 weapons. It is believed that there are 8000 pieces of terracotta in the vicinity and the undisturbed tomb of the Emperor Qin She Huang lies a kilometre and a half away.

52. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 01. In 1974, nine farmers in the Chinese community of Lintong, about 40 km NE of Xian, were escalating a well and stumbled upon an 2200 year old archaeological wonder. They found the resting place of an estimated 6000 Terracotta warriors,130 chariots, 400 horses. and 100,000 weapons. It is believed that there are 8000 pieces of terracotta in the vicinity and the undisturbed tomb of the Emperor Qin She Huang lies a kilometre and a half away. The site was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.

53. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 10. The 1974 discovery of the Terracotta warriors is considered to be one of the great archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. However, Chinese authorities have recognized how fragile the site is and have taken time and care in reconstructing figures. It is estimated that forty more years work remains before the figures are all excavated. In the meantime, the tomb of the Emperor remains intact and undisturbed a short distance away.

54. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 06. The collection is housed in four vaults. There are four pits in total with the largest being 230 metres in length and 62 metres wide and holding an army in military formation made up of officers, soldiers, crossbow men and flanking calvary. Each day, the clay warriors meet an army of tourists.

55. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 02. The Terracotta warriors were the afterlife ceremonial guard for the Emperor Qin She Huang (259 to 210 BC), the first emperor to unify China, and it is said that 700,000 craftsman worked from the time the emperor was 14, until his death. The artisans crafted and painted an army and a retinue that included acrobats, his personal servants, and government officials. The collection is housed in four vaults.

56. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 03. Two thousand of the warriors have been excavated and restored but close to four thousand are still in need of excavation and reconstruction.

57. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 07. Since 1974, The Chinese government has had trained archaeologists and experts slowly and carefully reconstruct the warriors individually. It is estimated that it will take another forty years before the job is complete. The main structure, holding the bulk of the terracotta warriors, is a massive building.

58. Xian - The Terracotta Warriors 08. The faces of each warrior is unique and it is believed that 8 general molds were used to construct the faces and then modified with clay to individualize their appearance. The terracotta warriors were constructed to be approximately 20 cm taller than real life warriors of the time to make them more intimidating.

 

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