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Xi'an Extension

See the Terracotta Warriors and Encounter Imperial China in This Ancient Silk Road City
Day 1: Fly to Xi'an
Transfer early this morning to the airport for your flight to Xi'an, the ancient Chinese capital rich in centuries of history under 10 dynasties. Your local guide meets you on arrival, and soon you reach the city's ancient wall built in 200 BC, one of the oldest and best preserved in China. Walk atop the wall to enjoy a view of the old city within, and if you're interested in riding a bicycle on the wall—a popular pastime—we can arrange it for you (at an additional cost).

After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, one of the most acclaimed in China. Shaanxi was the ancient imperial capital of China and the seat of more than 13 feudal dynasties. The province is rich in cultural relics, and the museum houses more than 370,000 precious relics unearthed in Shaanxi, including gold, silver and bronze wares, pottery figures and ancient coins. Our special permit to visit the basement of the museum offers the opportunity to also see the magnificent mural paintings from Tang tombs. Later this afternoon you'll stroll around Lesser Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the most important remaining symbols of ancient Chang'an (the name of Xi'an during the Tang dynasty). The expansive plaza and park surrounding the pagoda are popular with locals, who you may see dancing, playing games or otherwise socializing in the open air.

Day 2: Xi'an—Terracotta Warriors
Depart early this morning for Xi'an's most famous sight, the Terracotta Warriors. Unearthed in the suburbs outside the walled city in 1974, the stone army comprises one of the most remarkable archeological discoveries in history. Consisting of 8,000 life-size soldiers, 100 chariots and 600 horses, none of which is identical, the army was built to guard the remains and massive mausoleum complex of Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC), the first emperor to unite China. This pivotal and controversial first emperor forged a handful of warring states into a unified China and began construction of the Great Wall. After your museum visit, enjoy a delectable noodle lunch at a restaurant on the premises popular for this local specialty.

This afternoon head to Xi'an's Muslim Quarter. One of the world's oldest Muslim communities, it was founded some 1,300 years ago by Persian and Arab traders who traveled the Silk Road and settled in the then-capital of China's Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Known as Hui, their descendants are deeply integrated into local life but preserve separate cultural and culinary practices that fuse Central Asian and Chinese traditions. You'll wander through the old market district and visit the Great Mosque, whose distinctive structure reflects the integration of Islamic belief with Chinese architectural elements. The mosque features a series of courtyards built on a single axis, as well as intricate pavilions and pagodas, and is oriented on a westward line toward Mecca, unlike Buddhist temples that are typically aligned on a North-South axis.

Nearby, at opposite ends of a vast square, are the Drum Tower and Bell Tower, two magnificent pagodas that are among Xi'an's most famous hallmarks. You'll have a chance to visit one, climbing to the higher balconies to take in expansive views of the city within the ancient walls. From here you'll walk to dinner at Defachang, a famous dumpling restaurant known for perfecting these filled dough pillows that originated in this region of central China. Get ready for an authentic local feast!

Day 3: Depart
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your departing flight. 

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