Notes from Wendy Wu


Day 9: Pingyao – Xian

Destination Information

Pingyao Ancient City Walls – One of the best-preserved fortifications in China, the Pingyao Ancient City Wall encloses the old town of Pingyao.
Rishengchang Financial House – The Rishengchang Financial House is the home of China’s first draft bank, dating back to the 17th century.

Xian – Xian has long played a pivotal role in China’s extensive history and has been a thriving hub for cultural exchange, economic trade as well as national politics for centuries. Home to some of China’s most ancient sights, diverse architecture and delicious fares, Xian is a must-see destination.


Day 10: Xian
Destination Information

Terracotta Warriors – One of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, this
unearthed terracotta army is comprised of over 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots. The army was built in
life-sized form by thousands of workers and designed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang to defend himself in the


Explore the characterful old town of Pingyao, strolling along the cobbled streets to view the old city walls and the Rishengchang Financial House Museum. There will also be time to see the Yamen, a government building during the Qing Dynasty, before taking the bullet train to the former imperial capital of Xian.


Visit the 1,400-year-old, gravity-defying Hanging Temple that seemingly floats 50 metres up the face of Jinxia Gorge before travelling on to Wutaishan.


  • XIAN: is the first of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals. The immaculately restored and mighty city wall still dominates the centre of the city, with road traffic navigating through tunnel-like openings in its girth. Many modern buildings keep with ancient decor, especially the rooves. Xi’an is characterized by and proud of its ancient heritage, and rightly so.
  • “China” began in Xi’an: when First Emperor Qin (from whom China gets its name) finished conquering and united the warring states in 221 BC. The entombed Terracotta Army stands as a monument to the power of Emperor Qin.  

Xi’an served as China’s capital for the most dynasties: ten dynasties spread intermittently over a 1,100 year period, most notably the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and the Tang Dynasty (618–907), golden ages in China’s history. Tang opera is still popular in Xi’an night shows. more about Xian »

  • Little Wild Goose Pagoda: The Small Wild Goose Pagoda, sometimes Little Wild Goose Pagoda Pinyin: Xiǎoyàn Tǎ), is one of two significant pagodas in the city of Xi’an, China, the site of the old Han and Tang capital Chang’an. The other notable pagoda is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, originally built in 652 and restored in 704. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built between 707709, during the Tang Dynasty under Emperor Zhongzong of Tang (r 705–710). The pagoda stood 45 m (147 ft) until the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake. The earthquake shook the pagoda and damaged it so that it now stands at a height of 43 m (141 ft) with fifteen levels of tiers.[1] The pagoda has a brick frame built around a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era.[1]

During the Tang Dynasty, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda stood across a street from its mother temple, the Dajianfu Temple. Pilgrims brought sacred Buddhist writings to the temple and pagoda from India, as the temple was one of the main centres in Chang’an for translating Buddhist texts.[1] The temple was older than the pagoda, since it was founded in 684, exactly 100 days after the death of Emperor Gaozong of Tang (r. 649–683).[1] Emperor Zhongzong had donated his residence to the building of a new temple here, maintaining the temple for 200 monks in honour of his deceased father Gaozong.[1] The temple was originally called the Daxianfusi or Great Monastery of Offered Blessings by Zhongzong, until it was renamed Dajianfusi by Empress Wu Zetian in 69

  • Shaanxi Provincial Museum: The Shaanxi History Museum is situated on Yan Ta Road in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province. It covers 65,000 square meters, with a building area of 60,000 square meters. The newly built modern building recreates Tang-dynasty architecture and successfully symbolizes the great extent of Shaanxi history and its remarkable culture.
  • Terracotta Warriors: The Terracotta Army is one of the top attractions in China, because of its historical significance and uniqueness. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed lifesize models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies, and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China.
  • The Terracotta Army Museum lies 2 km east of The Tomb of Qin Shihuang, known as the First Emperor, who unified China 2,200 years ago. Emperor Qin, from whom China gets its name, ordered the creation of this model army.
  • lacquer furniture
  • Chrome plating Technology: Scientific testing has revealed  that the surface of the sword  contains chromium to a thickness of 10-15 microns which acted as a protective coating against corrosion. The chrome plating technology was invented  by the Germans in 1937 and Americans in the 1950’s but it emerged  in 2,2000  years before. How amazing is this!


Dear Friend Around the World,

We had a three week holiday in China from the 10th – 28th October  2011.  We went with a group for 19 days (three weeks) to look at ancient China with the  WendyWu group. We went out amongst 1.3 billion people for three weeks only. Cities were often 20 million ++ people.

I have sent in this email as to what the The Wendy Wu website says as the itinerary. In previous e-mails I have sent different sections and photos that I took of that section.

The Wendy Wu website says: Ancient China ….. 19 Days:

If you desire to learn more about China’s incredible past, we trust this tour will stimulate the historian in you. Whilst touring China’s most ancient cities you will trace the roots of one of Asia’s most fascinating cultures.

This tour will take you from the present capital of Beijing to the ancient cities of Xian and Luoyang. Tour the most significant sites of the imperial age; climb the Great Wall and explore the Forbidden City in Beijing. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed Yungang Caves, the Longman Grottoes and the unforgettable Hanging Monastery.

Wander  the charming streets of the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Pingyao. Be enthralled with Xian and its many wonders, from its  ancient City Wall to the incredible Terracotta Warriors.

Your journey ends in the dynamic city of Shanghai where you can explore ancient and modern China.


DENGFENG  TO  SHANGHAI: DAY 15: 24th October

This morning we view the Yellow River before we visit its museum in Zhengzhou. Later this evening we boarded our flight to Shanghai for a three night stay. 



Yellow River:

See  the  Youtube  website: China: La Yi River – Yi River in China

Yellow River

·         From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly spelled Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China after the Yangtze and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 kilometers (3,395 mi).[1] Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into the Bohai Sea. The Yellow River basin has an east-west extent of 1900 km (1,180 mi) and a north-south extent of 1100 km (684 mi). Its total basin area is 742,443 km² (290,520 mi²).

The Yellow River is called “the cradle of Chinese civilization” as its basin – specifically, the Wei valley that cuts across the long Ordos loop – was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilizations and the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding fields has also earned it the unenviable names “China’s Sorrow” and “Scourge of the Sons of Han.”[2]

The 1642 flood was man-made, caused by the attempt of the Ming governor of Kaifeng to use the river to destroy the peasant rebels under Li Zicheng who had been besieging the city for the past six months.[14] He directed his men to break the dikes in an attempt to flood the rebels, but destroyed his own city instead: the flood and the ensuing famine and plague are estimated to have killed 300,000 of the city’s previous population of 378,000.[15] The once-prosperous city was nearly abandoned until its rebuilding under the Qing emperor Kangxi.


Shanghai:  The city is filled with an abundance of beautiful old buildings and modern day high rise developments that are architectural masterpieces, combining the China of old with that of tomorrow. Shanghai is China’s premier shopping haven and has much to offer the visitor, rightly earning it the name ‘Paris of the East’. 

We visited the Shanghai Museum,the Yu Gardens, the Old Town and strolled along the famous Bund.We enjoyed a Chinese Acrobatic show one evening. The following day we explored the Xintiandi area. Our farewell celebration was a cruise along the Huangpu River. 

See the post on our personal website on the Yu Gardens  at:

2011 CHINA TRIP: Day 16 – 17 = 25th – 26th October ….. Yu Gardens
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dianchun Hall in Yu Garden

Yu Garden[1] or Yuyuan Garden[2] (Garden of Happiness or Garden of Peace) is an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai, China. It abuts the Yuyuan Tourist Mart and is accessible from the Shanghai Metro‘s Line 10 Yuyuan Garden Station.[5]

A centerpiece is the Exquisite Jade Rock, a porous 3.3-meter, 5-ton boulder. Rumors about its origin include the story that it was meant for the imperial palace in Beijing, but was salvaged after the boat sank off Shanghai.

Yu Garden was first conceived in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan as a comfort for his father, the minister Pan En, in his old age. Pan Yunduan began the project after failing one of the imperial exams, but his appointment as governor of Sichuan postponed construction for nearly twenty years until 1577.[7] The garden was the largest and most prestigious of its era in Shanghai, but eventually its expense helped ruin the Pans.[7]

The garden was inherited by Zhang Zhaolin, Pan Yunduan’s granddaughter’s husband, and then passed to different owners. A section was briefly organized by Zhang Shengqu as the “Academy of Purity and Harmony” (书院, Qīng-Hé Shūyuàn) and the Ling Yuan (, Líng Yuàn, lit. “Spirit Park”), today’s East Garden, was purchased by a group of local leaders in 1709. A group of merchants renovated the increasingly decrepit grounds in 1760 and in 1780 the West Garden was opened to the general public.[7]

The gardens suffered damage numerous times during the 19th century. During the First Opium War, the British army used the Huxinting Teahouse as a base of operations for several days in 1842. During the Taiping Rebellion, the Small Swords Society ran its headquarters in the Dianchun Hall; by the time Qing troops recovered the garden, the original structures had nearly all been destroyed.[7] They were damaged again by the Japanese in 1942 before being repaired by the Shanghai government from 1956 to 1961. They were opened to the public in 1961 and declared a national monument in 1982.


The Nine Lion Study.

Another view of the Dianchun Hall.

Today, Yu Garden occupies an area of 2 hectares (5 acres), and is divided into six general areas laid out in the Suzhou style:

  • Sansui Hall (lit. “Three Tassel Hall”) – includes the Grand Rockery  , a 12-meter-high rockery made of huangshi stone, featuring peaks, cliffs, winding caves, and gorges. This scenery was possibly created by Zhang Nanyang during the Ming Dynasty.
  • Wanhua Chamber (“Chamber of the Ten Thousand Flowers”)
  • Dianchun Hall (“Heralding Spring Hall”) – built in 1820, the first year of the Daoguang Emperor; served as the base of the Small Swords Society from September 1853 to February 1855
  • Huijing Hall
  • Yuhua Hall (“Jade Magnificence Hall”) – furnished with rosewood pieces from the Ming Dynasty, shares its name with a mountain near Xinye in Zhejiang.
  • Inner Garden– rockeries, ponds, pavilions, and towers; first laid out in 1709 and more recently recreated in 1956 by combining its east and west gardens.[clarification needed]

Each area is separated from the others by “dragon walls” with undulating gray tiled ridges, each terminating in a dragon’s head.


 ….. from an email  I was sent  after we came back from China.