After 3 months on the road, I finally made it to Xian, the Eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Mission accomplished!!
I arrived happy for having been able to complete the whole journey from Istanbul. Looking back, I could appreciate how different those two cities were, yet there are no discontinuities between them. That is the advantage of travelling overland: you can see how the world changes little by little from one town to the next, with slightly different racial traits, slightly different food, culture, etc. That’s as opposed to flying. If you flew from Istanbul to Xian, you’d suddenly arrive to a completely different world and wouldn’t make any sense of your journey or how things connect.
Xi’an is the quintessential Chinese city. Sprawling and with a population of over 8 million and growing, it is becoming one of the Chinese megalopolis. But in the past it was even more populated in relative terms, actually it was one of the world’s biggest cities and capital of the Chinese empire. It was then called Chang’an.
As a testament to its former glory, the city preserves the city walls and a beautiful bell and drum tower. These two, however, seem stifled by the ever-growing shopping malls and traffic jams that surround both monuments.
The city is also well-known for an attraction nearby: the Army of Terracota Warriors, which is usually one of the highlights of any visit to China. I assume you have all heard about this.
Already finished with my Silk Road accounts in these 12 episodes, I hope you enjoyed it. Next post will change course: India.