Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Xi’An: Banpo Museum and Huaqing Pools

When I was in fourth grade, my class studied archaeology.  As part of our archaeology unit I was placed on a team that created a culture, created artifacts related to that culture, and buried them on a friend’s farm.  My team then had to excavate the other team’s artifacts and try to piece together their culture using the clues.  Seeing that I was (and still am) not a big fan of dirt, digging up broken bits of a fictitious civilization was a frustrating task.  However, the activity made me appreciate my trip to the Banpo Museum. 

The Banpo Museum is an archaeological site that contains 8,000-year-old artifacts.

This Banpo Girl statue sits outside the museum.

The museum doubles as an archaeological dig site.
According to carbon dating, this grave is over 6,000 years old.

These four girls were buried with pottery.  In ancient times, people were buried with pottery that would be used in the next life.

After the Banpo Museum, we headed on a tour of the Huaqing Pools. 
Many Chinese Emperors have vacationed in these hot springs located in the outskirts of Xi’An.  Legend has it the pools were built up during the Qing dynasty for Emperor Xuan Zong and his concubine Yang Guifei.  Apparently the emperor was so smitten with Yang that he ignored his country, and times got tough.  Yang realized that their relationship was causing a little bit of a problem, so she hung herself to save her country.  The springs were named after her.
This is the entrance gate to the Huaqing Pools.

Many emperors used these facilities as a retreat.

A temple was constructed on the grounds so the emperors could worship.

People still worship at the temple today.

Visitors light incense to offer prayers to the Gods.

Chris and I pose in front of the temple.

The Huaqing Pool area was the location of the Xi'An incident.

This was Chiang Kai-shek's bathroom!

As we were leaving the pools, many visitors were rubbing the turtle heads for good luck!
Overall it was a fun morning, but nothing topped our afternoon trip to the Terra Cotta Warriors!