Telephone: 01689 871881
Address: 324 High Street, Orpington, BR6 0NG
Xi’an, the capital of China over 2,000 years ago, was at its height, three times larger than its contemporary Imperial Rome. Strategically positioned astride the fabulous Silk Road, the city acted as a hub for expanding commercial trade throughout the Middle Kingdom. It was from this civilisation that paper and printing were first developed, along with the magnetic compass and gunpowder.
Today, Xi’an is best known as the home of the “terracotta army”. It was near the city where one of the great wonders of the world (some say ninth after Tutankhamun) was discovered by accident! Here serried ranks of silent soldiers, fully armed with real swords and bows-and-arrows, numbering more than 7,000 together with horse and chariot, stand guardian to the resting place of the mighty Emperor Ch’in Shi Huong – who first unified China in the third century B.C.
As if the army were not a greater enough find in itself, even greater treasures may yet be uncovered which will rival those of the ancient Pharaohs. The city now attracts over a million visitors a year, including in October 1986, Queen Elizabeth II, who although well used to inspecting guards of honour, had never inspected one quite like this.
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