The silk road starts (or ends) in Xian, the former capital of the Chinese empire. The route continues from there tot Tianshui, Langzhou and via the Hexi corridor in the state of Gansu to Dunhuang.

Xian

This town is a major tourist destination. As an attraction the terracotta warriors are of course a class on their own. However the I found the tomb of emperor Jingdi -a pyramid- also very worthwhile. Around it a vast treasure of terracotta figures was found. They are about one third of the size of the warriors from the site of the first emperor, but special in their own way.

There are the belltower and the drumtower. Although there has been a lot of renovation the bell in the belltower is the original cast in 711. The drumtower is actually more a large wooden building atop a masonry foot. Inside is a hall with a large collection of drums and a drum museum. From the top there would be a panoramic view of the city had it not been so extremely polluted.

Apart from that the Muslim area still has its charm. The mosque, that resembles more a Chinese pagoda than what you'd expect from a mosque is an interesting complex. And the night market is worth visiting.

If you just venture further out of town you'll find vast extremely dusty areas and immense construction sites.

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Continue the silk road to Dunhuang