- Xiaolongbao -
 

In the Muslim Quarter in the heart of Xi'an, even during the lunch break it is hard to put away the camera. Food is an important thing, every market in China, even the smallest, has many stalls devoted to the most various kinds of food, dish and dessert. This is a basket of Xiaolongbao, a small, meat-filled baozi typical from Shanghai containing a juicy broth. Because it is succulent and prepared only with thin, partially leavened dough, it is sometimes considered different from other types bao, and more closely to resembles jiaozi (dumpling).

          Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                         October  2015

- Back in Time -
 

In the narrow streets of the old town of Pingyao, the cars are not allowed, only carts and bicycles. If it were not for the tourists dressed in modern clothes, and the neon signs in the small shops it seems to have stepped back in time 100 or 200 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pingyao - Shanxi Province

China

                           October 2015

- The Bell Tower -
 

The Bell Tower of Xi'an, built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, is a symbol of the city and one of the grandest of its kind in China. The Bell Tower also contains several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty. The tower base is square and it covers an area of 1,377 square meters. The tower is a brick and timber structure and close to 40 meters high.

 

 

 

Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                           October  2015

     - Han Characters - 

 

 Written Chinese comprises the Hànzì, literally "Han characters", used to represent the Chinese language. The characters do not constitute an alphabet or a compact syllabary. Rather, the writing system is roughly logosyllabic; that is, a character generally represents one syllable of spoken Chinese and may be a word on its own or a part of a polysyllabic word. Various current Chinese characters have been traced back to the late Shang Dynasty about 1200, 1050 BC, but the process of creating characters is thought to have begun some centuries earlier. After a period of variation and evolution, Chinese characters were standardized under the Qin Dynasty. Over the millennia, these characters have evolved into well-developed styles of Chinese calligraphy. Chinese speakers in disparate dialect groups are able to communicate through writing because standard written Chinese is based on a standard spoken language "Mandarin". Although most other varieties of Chinese are not written, there is a well-developed tradition of written Cantonese.Some Chinese characters have been adopted as part of the writing systems of other East Asian languages, such as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

 

                                                                Beijing -  China                                                                                                       October  2015

- Silver Artisan -
 

In the small silver workshop in one of the large markets of Xi'an, a girl works with the precious metal, creating jewelry of all kinds, some of them of extraordinary beauty and complexity, as the wonderful head cover that she is wearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                           October  2015

- 189 Steles -
 

I'm inside, The Temple of Confucius in Beijing, the second largest Confucian Temple in China after the one in Confucius' hometown of Qufu. Inside are kept 189 stone steles containing the Thirteen Confucian Classics, an unbelievable sight with 630,000 Chinese characters, all written by Jiang Heng. It took him 12 years to complete the steles, Which includes the Classics on 188 steles plus one stele containing the Emperor's orders for completion.

 Beijing - China

                          October  2015

- Warrior's Face -
 

Recently an interesting phenomenon has been discovered: the looks of terracotta warriors unearthed from the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang closely resemble those of modern Chinese people. Examined closely, almost every facial variation of modern Chinese man can be found amongst the warrior figures. Out of great astonishment, some people may guess the artisans practiced divination, by which they could predict the appearance of Chinese people living over 2,000 years later. But experts don't agree by holding that the accidental discovery contains inevitability. The plastic art of terracotta warrior basically covers all Chinese people's facial shapes, which can be classified into eight types similar to the strokes of certain Chinese characters. Observe carefully, and you will find the face shapes of the warriors are no more than these eight types.

 

Shaanxi Province - China 

                                         October  2015

 

- Street Food -
 

Noodles are an essential ingredient and staple in Chinese cuisine. There is a great variety of Chinese noodles, which vary according to their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and manner of preparation. They are an important part of most regional cuisines within China, as well as in Singapore, and other Southeast Asian nations with sizable overseas Chinese populations.

 

 

 

 

Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                          October  2015

- The Forbidden City -
 

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government for almost 500 years. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 180 acres.  The Forbidden City was listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The Forbidden City has over 14 million annual visitors.

                        Beijing - China

                        October  2015

     - Pingyao by Night - 

 

This is the inside of one of the magnificent temples scattered The original purpose of King Xuan for building Pingyao was to withstand the attacks of the nomads of the north. Afterwards, Pingyao was developed into a multi-functional city, the starting place of commercial business in Shanxi and the birthplace of China’s first rudimentary form of a modern bank. Peiyao also retains most of its ancient charm in buildings like the Temple of Confucius, the Qingxu Temple, and a great number of residential buildings.

 

                                   Pingyao - Shanxi Province - China                                                                                                     October 2015                                      

- Summer Palace -
 

Sunset from the top of Longevity Hill, adjacent to the lake in the vast complex of the Summer Palace, known as Yiheyuan, in Beijing. I took this picture from inside the garden of the Tower of Buddhist Incense, during a gorgeous sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beijing - China

                          October 2015

- The Bookshop -
 

Strolling around the Hutong, north of the Forbidden City, I found a small street with a few shops of old books, the characters inside have definitely caught my eye, this old man was checking, helped by a magnifying glass, some texts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beijing - China

                          October  2015

China

Officially the People's Republic of China is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's second-largest country by land area. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard.

 

- Night in Xi'an -
 

Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China, in the center of the Guanzhong Plain. It's one of the oldest cities in China, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming dynasty. Xi'an is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, and is also famous to be the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army.

 

 Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China                                                                             October  2015

 

- Chinese Model -
 

I arrived a few days ago in Beijing, the city, like the rest of the country, is celebrating the National Day Golden Week, which is the most important week of the year. I had just finished visiting the splendid complex of the Temple of Heaven, and wandering through the gardens I came across a group of photographers committed during a workshop with some models ... a big smile and I was in!

 

                       Beijing - China      

                        October 2015 

     - The Great Wall -

 

I am standing on the Great Wall of China, precisely in one of the highest and least restored area of the Jinshanling section, located in the mountainous area in Luanping County, 125 km northeast of Beijing. The Great Wall stretches from Dandong to the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc That roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has Concluded That the Ming walls measure 6.259 km.

 

                                       Luanping County - Hebei province - China                                                                                  October 2015

- Hutong's Alley -
 
Undoubtedly the Hutong are my favorite part in the city that I was lucky enough to visit during my time in the north of China.
In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many Neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such Neighbourhoods. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this beautiful aspect of Chinese cultural history.
 
 
 
 
                Qianmen Hutong - Beijing - China             
  October 2015
- Chinese Hanzi -
 
The art of writing Chinese characters is called Chinese calligraphy. It is usually done with ink brushes. In ancient China, Chinese calligraphy is one of the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholars. There is a minimalist set of rules of Chinese calligraphy. Every character from the Chinese scripts is built into a uniform shape by means of assigning it a geometric area in which the character must occur. Each character has a set number of brushstrokes; none must be added or taken away from the character to enhance it visually, lest the meaning be lost. Finally, strict regularity is not required, meaning the strokes may be accentuated for dramatic effect of individual style. Calligraphy was the means by which scholars could mark their thoughts and teachings for immortality, and as such, represent some of the more precious treasures that can be found from ancient China.
 
 
Summer Palace - Beijing - China                 October 2015
- The Lost Army -
 

The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 to the east of Xi'an in Shaanxi province by farmers digging a water well not to far from the Qin Emperor's tomb mound at Mount Li. For centuries, occasional reports mentioned pieces of terracotta figures and fragments of the Qin necropolis – roofing tiles, bricks and chunks of masonry. This discovery prompted Chinese archaeologists to investigate, revealing the largest pottery figurine group ever found in China.

 

Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                           October  2015

- Pingyao County -
 

Pingyao's old town is typically considered the best ancient walled city in China, and is on many lists of the best walled cities in the world. The old walled city is almost 3 sq. kilometers, inhabited, mostly off-limits to cars, and constructed of cobbled streets and buildings almost entirely from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Picture a period film showing ancient China, and you won't be far off. Perfect for atmospheric wandering, this city is still off the radar of most foreigners.

          Pingyao -Shanxi Province - China

                           October  2015

- Muslim Market -
 

Just as its name implies, the Muslim Quarter is the hub of the Muslim community in Xian City. Located to the north of the West Street in the city center, the quarter covers several blocks inhabited by over 20,000 Muslims. There are about ten mosques in this area, among which the Great Mosque in the Huajue Lane is the most famous and popular. Muslim traditional food is another feature of the area.

 

Xi'an - Shaanxi Province - China

                           October  2015

     - At the Lama Temple -

 

A young woman intent to pay homage and pray in front of one of the temples in the magnificent complex of  The Yonghe Temple, literally "Palace of Peace and Harmony" also known has the Lama Temple, is a monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism located in the Dongcheng District in the heart of Beijing. The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. It is the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, it was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng. 

 

                                                                Beijing - China                                                                                        October 2015

- Warrior's Silhouette -
 

Known Pit 1 is the main hall where they have kept the majority of the warriors that make up the famous Terracotta Army, more than 6000 warriors. The space is impressive, but as the route for visitors is raised in relation to where the soldiers are positioned is difficult to find original angles for photos. In the back of the giant warehouse, a group of restorers are always working full time rebuilding the statues with the thousands of small fragments of pottery found in Pit 1, 2, 3, definitely the most interesting area if you try to be original.

 

Shaanxi Province  -  China

                          October  2015

- Walking Around -
 

Exploring the narrow streets of the old town of Pingyao, you will pass many small shops, courtyards, small temples, having endless photo opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pingyao  -  Shanxi Province  

 China

                             October 2015

     - The Soldier Who Was Looking at the Sky - 

 

The army of life-size terracotta soldiers, archers, horses and chariots was stationed in military formation near Emperor Qin’s tomb in order to protect the emperor in the afterlife. The painstaking restoration of the figures, many of which were apparently vandalized after the emperor’s death, revealed that they were creating using molds and an early assembly line-type construction. Though most of their hands are identical, and only eight molds were used to shape their heads, distinctive surface features were added with clay after assembly.

As a result, each terracotta soldier appears to be unique in its facial features, revealing a high level of craftsmanship and artistry. 

All soldiers and officers that make up the army have a proud look and looking right in front of them ... but not all, at least one soldier does not look ahead of him, but look up at the sky.

 

                                          Shaanxi Province - China                                                                                                           October  2015