Xi'An to Lanzhou / 4 days
1 To the amazing Terra cotta army, 8th wonder of the world. In the afternoon tour on top of the Xi'an city wall, then to the bustling muslim quarters with a visit to the serene and charming mosk. In the evening Tang Dynasty show with dumpling banquet. Overnight in Xi'an
2 To the Han tombs, stunningly beautiful clay army from the Han dynasty. In the afternoon to the Big Wild Goose pagoda. Overnight in Xi'an
3 To Maijishan Buddhist rock carvings, continue to TianShui. Overnight in TianShui
4 To Water curtain of Thousand Buddha caves, to Lanzhou
Day 1: We start the day by going to one of China’s most famous attractions: the wonderful terra cotta army, built by Emperor Qin ShiHuang who unified China around 200 BC. The whole terra cotta army complex consists of 3 pits. Pit number 1 is filled with more than 6000 terra cotta infantry statues, pit 2 is filled with cavalry and soldiers and pit number 3 was the command center, with in it 70 officers. Apart from these 3 pits, there is also a hall with bronze objects, found in the tomb with 2 bronze chariots as the center pieces. After enjoying the terra cotta army, we head back to Xi'an to see Xi'an from above: from the city wall. It has a total length of 13 km, and it is fun to bike around to see the old inner city, and the new outer city. We can see the beautiful watch towers and the towers for the archers. We continue to the bustling Muslim quarters and the mosk, still stemming from the days of the Silk Road. The mosk is an amazing mix of Arabic and Chinese architecture. In the evening we can enjoy the Tang Dynasty show. Xi'an was the capital of China in the Tang Dynasty, an era of glory and prosperity. With the show we will enjoy the dumplings for which Xi'an is famous.
Day 2: We go to the Han tombs to enjoy yet another clay army, with a very different kind of statues though. These Han dynasty statues are 1/3 of life size, and in the Han dynasty, the statues were dressed in silk. Now the silk has gone, leaving the statues naked. We can see many things of daily life of the Han dynasty and many animals, eunuchs and concubines. A very interesting exhibit, which is not as known as the terra cotta army from the Qin dynasty, but definitely deserves the same praise! In the afternoon we go back to Xi'an and visit the Big Wild Goose pagoda, built in 652 during the Tang dynasty. The 64 meter high pagoda was built originally to store the sutras which were translated from Sanskrit to Chinese by monk Xuanzang.
Day 3: We drive 3-4 hours to Maijishan wonderful Buddhist rock carvings. This is considered to be one of the most important collection of Buddhist carvings in China. The first carvings here are from the 4th century, the last ones dating from the Qing dynasty. The 200 caves are still intact and can be reached by climbing the steps. We spend the night in TianShui, the second largest city in Gansu province.
Day 4: We continue to Lanzhou, capital city of Gansu province. But we first make a stop at the Water curtain of Thousand Buddha caves near Luomen town. These caves can only be reached by an unpaved road, and are inaccessible if it rains. The caves are situated in a spectacular gorge in beautiful nature. The main attraction is a 30 meter tall Sakyamuni Buddha and the Lashoa Si, a temple inside a cave, decorated with paintings and statues from the 4th-6th century. After admiring these amazing caves, we continue to Lanzhou.