Xi'an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty, the most prosperous and colorful of China's ancient dynasties. Xi'an is very proud of its Tang Dynasty past and the Tang Dynasty Show is an example of this pride. The show combines dinner and performances. The dinner served before the performance is a wonderful Jiaozi (dumpling) dinner. It offers dozens of kinds of beautifully crafted Jiaozi to diners. After the banquet, the performance begins. Visitors are transported back in time to that most spectacular dynasty. Live music is performed by an orchestra playing music written during the Tang Dynasty on period styled instruments while dancers wearing Tang Dynasty styled clothing to dance and whirl. It is a wonderful combination of art, culture, music, and dance.
Shaanxi Opera is a very ancient opera found in northwest China. Originating in the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC) it has been evolving for thousands of years. The performance is accompanied by a number of unique and rarely heard instruments. The arias of Shaanxi Opera are performed in an exaggerated style, but without the falsetto often found in Peking (Beijing) Opera. Shaanxi Opera has facial makeup similar to that in Peking Opera, but it also has many differences that make it unique from Peking Opera. The costumes are much different as well as the performing style. During the performance, there are many different arts performed that are not seen in Peking Opera. These include Fire eating, Chair balancing, Spear performance, performing with flaming sticks, and tumbling. It makes for a very exciting experience!
Xi'an's shadow puppets are famous throughout China and versions of it can be found in many parts of the country. Shadow puppets are jointed puppets made of a thin donkey or cowhide. The puppets are controlled with thin sticks similar to chopsticks. The puppets are moved behind a screen with a light behind them. The shadows of the puppets are shown on the screen and can be seen by the audience. The puppet is accompanied by a small band of musicians and the puppet shows are always about legends, battles, and mythological creatures. The puppet shows are full of energy and excitement. Shadow puppets can be found for sale throughout Xi'an and one wonderful place to find them is behind Xi'an's ancient Drum Tower.
Normally thought of as an ancient city, Xi'an has become a modern metropolis, and its nightlife is proof of this. The most famous bar street in Xi'an is Defu Lane. This street has bars to cater to everyone's taste. Every evening, businessmen, students, and visitors congregate here to enjoy live music, performances, and drinks. It is a great way to unwind after a busy day of touring. Another great place to go during the night is the Bell and Drum Towers in the center of Xi'an's ancient city. At night the towers are lit and look spectacular. The market behind the Drum Tower is fantastic and offers wonderful arts and crafts, tea, shadow puppets, and art supplies. Also at night, many visitors like to go to the musical fountain near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The spectacular fountain is lit and computer controlled to dance to the music. It is especially popular with children who marvel at the dancing water.
Xi'an has so much to offer. Many visitors come to Xi'an, see the Terracotta Warriors, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Ancient City Wall, and then head on to their next destination. They have no idea how much more this ancient yet modern city has to offer.
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