10 March 2015

Travel memories: Xi'an city walls

I watched a tv programme recently about a Chinese mayor who had started a project to rebuild his town's walls, and it put me in mind of my trip to China when I visited the city walls of Xi'an.

I visited Xi'an on my birthday in 2008, and, after a birthday lunch of noodles (for long life), and birthday cake, the tour group headed for the city walls. It was a dull, misty, smoggy day in Xi-an, but there was a surprise when we reached the city walls.
When we got out of the bus we immediately saw a huge display of enormous, brightly coloured, silk lanterns in the shapes of animals. It turned out that we had arrived not long after the Lantern Festival, a Chinese festival held each year in late February or early March (depending on the date of the lunar new year), and the lantern displays were still in place. Up on top of the walls there were more, some at the sides, and some in huge arches across the walls. A lot of the displays were themed around the Olympic Games which took place in Beijing later that year, some were related to the Year of the Rat, and some were on other traditional Chinese themes.

There were many Chinese people and tourists cycling around the walls, and you could climb a tower for a better view.

The bright lanterns showed up amazingly well in the dull weather, and some of the photos I took are among my favourites of the whole trip!

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