Though much of the Great Wall in Shaanxi lies in ruins, interested travelers can find examples of Ming Dynasty towers built along the Yulin section of the Great Wall, the most notable of which is the Zhenbeitai Terrace.
The largest watchtower on the entire Ming Great Wall, Zhenbeitai is located three miles north of Yulin in Shaanxi Province. Here the tower and its terrace sit at the top of Hongshan Mountain. Historically, Zhenbeitai served the specific purpose of “pacifying the north” (as its name literally translates into) during the 17th century Wanli period.
Zhenbeitai Terrace functioned as a guard post overseeing the area’s annual bazaar where Ordos nomads and Chinese merchants traded. Standing at over 30 meters tall, the overwhelming size of Zhenbeitai also proudly demonstrated the superiority of Chinese engineering and martial power to the northern nomads.
Today, visitors will find that Zhenbeitai Terrace has been substantially renovated, welcoming tourists to enjoy this remarkable and unique section of the Great Wall.
One of the great marvels and mysteries of the ancient world, the Terracotta Warriors have captured the attention of scientists, historians and curious onlookers since their inadvertent discovery in 1974. These 8,000 individually crafted soldiers each bear unique faces and details, as if they were precise replicas of actual Qin Dynasty warriors from the First Emperor’s Army. Four excavation pits are open to the public, including the recently opened Pit 4. UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site 1987.
Situated near Wei River in the northern suburb of Xi`an city, Han Yang Ling Mausoleum is the historical site designated for state protection. This mausoleum which combines modern technology, ancient civilization, historical culture and garden scenery, is built at the base of the joint tomb of Emperor Jindi and his Empress. It is the largest museum in China.
Regarded as one of China’s finest history museums, the Shaanxi History Museum in Xian houses 370,000 cultural relics. Known to be “English-speaker friendly,” the Museum’s exhibits typically include English labels and information. The Shaanxi History Museum only sells 4,000 tickets per day, so visitors should plan to arrive early to assure admission.
Built during the Ming Dynasty, Xian’s Bell Tower is located in the center of town. Originally used to ring in each morning as the city’s alarm clock, legend speaks of a far more crucial duty. A 14th century folktale reveals the Bell Tower’s true purpose, to block an ornery dragon’s access to Xian! Today, the Bell Tower houses several iterations of bronze bells used through the ages.
Originally constructed during the Ming Dynasty, the City Wall of Xian has received a massive overhaul, restoring or rebuilding almost its entire 14-kilometer perimeter. Standing at 12 meters tall, visitors are entreated to stroll along its walkways, admiring the City Wall’s views and history.
This famous theater production is considered to be a “can’t miss” point of interest for visitors of Xian. The Show offers visitors a sensational stage performance featuring brightly colored staging and costume while using energetic music and dance to tell the stories of the majestic Tang Dynasty.