The Bell Tower, rung at dawn to mark sunrise in the 14th century; …
The Drum Tower, its alter-ego used to mark nightfall; …
And musical performances at each, held numerous times daily.
The music itself was quite well-done, unfortunately the showmanship left a LOT to be desired. Most of the performers looked like they were about ready to kill themselves and CERTAINLY did not want to be up there in front of a crowd.
Next we spent some time wandering around the Muslim quarter, which was extremely interesting:
The backstreets leading north from the Drum Tower have been home to the city’s Hui community (Chinese Muslims) for centuries…The narrow lanes are full of butcher shops, sesame-oil factories, smaller mosques hidden behind enormous wooden doors and proud, stringy-bearded men wearing white skullcaps.
I had no idea there was such a large Muslim population in China.
We also dropped by the Great Mosque, supposedly the largest in the country and a “fascinating blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture.” From what we could tell, apart from the main prayer hall, it was pretty much the same as most Chinese temples we’d seen – but EXTREMELY unmaintained.
Finally, Andy wrapped the day up getting the knots rubbed out of his calves at a nearby bathhouse while I headed over to the Big Goose Pagoda – Xi’an’s most famous landmark – for the daily water-and-music show.
It was pretty cool, reminding me in many ways of the fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
And there you have it: all of our planned Xi’an attractions in just two ultra-efficient days! 🙂