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There is a great deal to see in Xi'an other than the Terracotta Warriors. This is a great way to spend your day if you have extra time in Xi'an. Part of the reason to make this temple and the pagoda so famous was because of the monk Tripitaka ( his sanskrit name ). one of the earliest travelers who went along the Silk Road to India and stayed there for 17 years studying Buddhism and Sankrit. the themple was the place where he served as the abbot translating books and sutras he brought back from India and teaching his dsciples. One of the fous most famous Chinese legendary novels called Pilgramage to the West fully tells the story about him as well as the Monkey King...
Those who watched TV Series of Pilgrimage to the West with the figure Monkey King. this is the pagoda that was offen featured. The Temple was built around 648 by Emperor Gaozong during the Tang Dynasty to memorize his beloved empress mother as well as to house the Busshist scriptures that had been brought back from India by the travelling monk Xuan Zang( Tripitaka ). You can climb the Pagoda for an extra fee which will gives you a great view over Xian. On the site there is also the Tang Dynasty Arts Museum.
This museum contains the heaviest collection of books in the world. There doesn't seem to be a lot of western tourist who visit this site, however all the signs are bi-lingual so you will have no problem understanding what each of the tablets are about. One of the most important and interesting tablets is the Stele of Daiqin Nestorianism which was ingraved in AD781 to market the opening of a Nestorian (Early Christian Sec) Church. At the top of the Stele you can see a small cross engraved.
Xi'an city walls are still visable and it is possible to walk or cycle the whole way around the on the wall which is 14km. There is still a lot of restoration occuring and sections may be closed to the public. There is a fee charged to access the wall. Bicycles may be rented on the top of the wall at the south gate. From the Forest of Steles Museum, you can walk along the wall to the South Gate, along the streets on this walk they are lined with shops and stalls which sell many souviners.
The Bell Tower is 36 meters tall built during the Ming Dynasty. It is located in the very center of Xian downtown and within walking distance to the South Gate of Xian city wall, and also to the Muslim Street. There is a big bronze bell hanging at the corner of the brick terrace on the Bell Tower, bell was striken in ancient times to make the daybreak. To climeb up the tower, visitors need to go to the underground pass and paying an entrance fee. If lucky with the weather, it is a great spot to watch the view of inner city on the Bell Tower. To ing the bell also costs some pocket money.
The Drum Tower was built during the Ming Dynasty as well and drums were beaten at 6:00 in the evening that the gate in the city wall was closed then. hence, the locals say Morning Bell and Evening Drum. The Drum Tower is located in walking distance to the west of the Bell Tower with a nice small square in between of these two ancient architectures that people may stroll around. Behind the Drum Tower is the famous Muslim Street Market and following the street sign then leading into the Great Mosque built some 900 years ago really make the city sightseeing trip worthwhile.
Xi'an has a large Muslim community. There are many narrow laneways some of which are lined with shops and stalls. There are some very good teahouses and resturants in this area. Nanyuan Men, Huajue Xiang, Damaishi Jie and Biyuanmen are some very good streets to wander along.