There's a lot of places to visit around Xian. Unfortunately most visitors visit only the Terracotta Warriors museum. That's a real shame because there are some other very interesting places to visit. Here are three of the best known and most interesting to visit places. The Terracotta Warriors are already mentioned on the main Xian page.
One of the most spectacular places to visit is Famen Si, a Buddhist temple 115km north west of the city. This is one of the oldest temples in the vicinity. It hold the finger bones of Buddha. I did see the finger bone but unfortunately it's not allowed to be photographed.
I took tourism bus No. 2 at the Railway Station in the city, which took about 3 hours. After visiting the temple, and having a look what there was further to see, I took a mini bus back to Xian, which made a stop at Huaquing Pool.
The Famen Si temple dates back to 2AD. It became a royal temple in the 7th century but 2 centuries later the relic, now already 700 years in the temple, was sealed in an underground crypt where. where it stayed for the next 1100 years.
During the Ming dynasty a new pagoda was build on the same spot over the crypt. When this pagoda collapsed in 1981, the archaeologists found also the original crypt including the Ashokan relic plus many Tang area treasures and cultural relics.
Several years later a museum was build to give the findings a new home. Findings included gold and silver wares, glass, china, stone and iron wares, wood, genuine pearls, jades and many kinds of dry goods are housed in it.
Further a a gold-plating 2 meter Buddhist abbot's staff, the oldest and biggest Buddhist object ever found. It also includes 13 pieces of royal china that could not be made today because the techniques of making them have already disappeared.
When I visited the city the first time, I didn't even know about the existence of the pagoda. Fortunately some Chinese people I met on the road told me about the importance for Buddhists and urged me, if I had time, to visit the Famen Si. It was well worth the effort to go.
The hot springs Huaquing Pool
The hot springs Huaquing Pool are in the vicinity too. The pool is nothing much to my humble opinion but the local Chinese seem to think the hot springs are a "must see". The surroundings are more interesting though. Spectacular hills made this trip still worthwhile.
You can leave your bicycle in Xi'an and do the Famen Si and the hot springs Huaquing Pool by bus or taxi in a day visit. The town nearby the Famen Si temple has a few basic hotels. In the same vicinity there are countless other royal tombs to visit. However, none of them have the beauty of that of the Emperor Qin and his Terracotta Army.
The Fabulous 1,000-Foot White Pyramid of Xian
100km south-west of the ancient Chinese capital of Xian, in the mountainous Qin Ling Shan region lies the White Pyramid of Xi'an. Although I have been south west of Xian, I haven't seen the pyramids. There are 16 in total and the tallest should be around 200 feet. They are maybe around 4500 years old but the Chinese government does not do much to promote or even restore the pyramids. Rumors go that there is a secret military base in the area which explains the lack of promotion.
It's hard to get decent information about the pyramids though. Transport to the area is difficult too. It is however possible to visit the pyramids. Several of the pyramids supposed to have little museums.
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