For around 2000 years, Xian was the capital of China regardless of the ruling dynasties. Accordingly, the city and its surroundings are full of ancient temples, gates and tombs. One of the most interesting buildings is the Great Mosque, it looks like a Chinese temple, the minaret like a pagoda.

But the main reason to come here is the Terracotta Army, thousands of life-size clay soldiers from the 3rd century BC guarding the tomb of what must have been a somewhat tyrannical emperor (the same one who started the construction of the Great Wall of China). It is particularly fascinating that no two faces are alike: some believe they are portraits.

The history of China is, in short, a succession of countless dynasties, interspersed with troubled times of warlords and competing empires. All the temples, ceramics and bronzes of the different eras look quite similar to the untrained eye (i.e. to me)…

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