(Photo from our China tour including the Terracotta Army. Credit: Tour Leader Rachel Kristensen) Discovered in 1974 by a local farmer who was digging for a water well, the Terracotta Army and museum are undeniably one of China’s most awe-inspiring collections. In a space roughly the size of a football field, it is estimated over 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots ,and 520 horses were buried. As of now, over 2000 figures have been unearthed and are found guarding the tomb Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Construction of the site started in 246 BCE and was completed by the work of over 700,000 workers. It is thought the locals worked in an assembling line, producing the pottery figurines in sections, placing limbs together after made individually rather than as a whole piece. The faces of the soldiers were created in 8 different styles. Crafted with details such as facial hair, a variety of bone structures, and a diverse range of eye sets it is thought that the different soldiers represented the emotions and temperaments of the times. Graceful eyebrow and eyes representing a canny solider. Braveness was illustrated in eyes that are wide and staring. While those with a wide face, large head with bushy eyebrows and large eyes are thought to have been simple men. While pieces from the collection have been shown around the world, no collection of the Terracotta Army can duplicate the mass scale of discovery which the museum in Xi’an has. Archaeologists are still uncovering more pieces and our small group China tour includes a fully guided excursion to better understand the work archaeologists are doing on this famous discovery. Click here for information on our next trip to China which includes the Terracotta Army.
(Photo credit: On a China tour with Rachel Kristensen / @meandertheworld) China is the third largest country in the world and has some of the most diverse landscapes, bustling cities and quiet villages to explore. From the sandy dunes of the Gobi Desert, to the deep gorges cut by the Yangtze River and the karst mountains of Guilin. Our Classic China tour takes you to the quiet village of Yangshuo, what many recall as their highlight of China. The village is beautiful from all angles, situated among breathtaking mist covered mountains that jet into the sky. With less car traffic and little air polution, it is easy to roam the streets and discover why so many love visiting this town. No trip to Yangshuo is complete without exploring the winding rivers that cut through the valley floor. On the Li River, our small group tour sets sail beside bamboo rafts to watch fishermen collecting their catch with traditional netting methods. The pristine environment complete with sweet smelling cassia flowers feels a million miles away from the high rises of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and China’s other well-known cities. Click here for more information on our trip to China which includes a small group tour of Yangshuo.
(Photo source: www.feminiya.com) If you have ever gone to Beijing to taste authentic Chinese food, you may have tasted the world famous delicacy. Prepared for royalty since the 13th century, we have often wondered what it is about the dish that makes it so notorious with dining in Beijing. Could it be the pickled radish? The scallion, cucumber or sweet bean sauce? What is the special seasoning, and how is the skin so crispy? First, get to know the duck. The Peking duck is a type of mallard that historically was found in the canals of Nanjing (which was once China’s capitol) before making its way to Beijing as trade commerce spilled grain in the river (and once the capitol was changed to Beijing in the 15th century). These days, the duck is now raised specifically to be consumed in China. Cooked for 50 minutes while hung in a brick oven, each cook uses their own special seasoning but pays close attention as the duck is roasted to perfection. Each restaurant has its own secret ingredient but only those in duck roasted in China are thought to be authentic. As China considers getting the duck among other Chinese cuisine listed on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy, the past has also benefited from the duck. Once touted as part of China’s international diplomacy relations strategy, notable figures such as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger tried out the dish on their official visits to China in 1972, which was the first step in normalizing relations between the US and China. Try out this dish on our next trip to China, click here for more info.