Xi’an (西安), also known as Chang’an in ancient time, is one of the oldest cities in China and has served intermittently as the capital of thirteen dynasties including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang. It prospered as an international city benefiting from its location at the eastern starting point for the great trade caravans of the ancient Silk Road.
The tour’s program begins in Xi’an with a visit to the Shaanxi History Museum (陝西歷史博物館) and the Xi’an Museum (西安博物院) to view the important collections, dated from pre-history of 150,000 years ago through different dynasties to the Qing. We will visit Yangling Tomb (漢陽陵), the Mausoleum of the Western Han Emperor. It was built in the year 153 and housed up to 60,000 burial objects – painted pottery figures, utensils, chariots and weapons, including a large number of animals have been unearthed. Xi’an’s old City Wall (古城牆) was one of the largest and most complete ancient military systems of defense in the world.
Dunhuang (敦煌), a small town in northwestern China renown for its art treasures, was an oasis located amid the Gobi Desert along the Silk Road from 2 BC to 14 AD. The caves in Dunhuang are the highlights of the tour. The Mogao Grottoes (莫高窟), popularly known as “the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas”, form a complex of 492 cave temples containing some of the finest examples of Buddhist art. Spanning a period of 1,000 years, from the 4th to the 14th century, they visually represent, with brilliant details, the culture of medieval China. They were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Yulin Grottoes (榆林窟), known as Wanfoxia “Gorge of Ten Thousand Buddhas”, were carved between the Northern Wei (439–534) and the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) on two sharp cliffs facing each other on the banks of the Yulin River.
This tour will be conducted in Cantonese and Putonghua. We are very privileged to have Lee Mei-yin, a Special Research Fellow of the Dunhuang Academy, guide us in Xi’an and Dunhuang – two important ancient cities on the Silk Road. A graduate of The Chinese University, she is an advisor to the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture and has conducted in-depth research on Chinese ethnic culture, Buddhist art and Chinese embroidery for many years.