To follow the course ofthe Huanghe is a journey to the roots of Chinese culture. A journey upstream is recommended, starting ideally from
Anyang, the cradle of this vast civilisation, where many important monuments and precious archaeological finds from the Shang Dynasty await the visitor. Anyang is situated some 600km/372 miles from Beijing on the line to Canton.
Zhengzhou is a further 200km/125 miles on the Canton line. Those with plenty oftimeto spare could makean excursion to ancient Kaifeng or to the top of Songshan to view the famous Shaolin Monastery. Kaifeng, a former capital, lies some way off the traditional tourist routes and parts ofthe city retain their original character. Of particular interest is the old Jewish quarter which housed the biggest Jewish community in China. Between Beitu Jie and Nanjioajing there remain a number of relics which testify to their presence here. In addition the Iron Pagoda and the Xiangguo Si Monastery are worth a visit. 100km/
60 miles separate Zhengzhou from Luoyang, best known for the Long-men Shiku caves and one of China’s most important historic sites.
Xi’an is a seven-hourtrain journey (400km/250 miles) from Luoyang.
Such are the attractions of this beautiful city that a three-day stay is recommended. All the magnificent sights – and that does not just mean the amazing Terracotta Army – can then be admired at a relatively relaxed pace.
There are flights from Xi’an into most major Chinese cities (Beijing 1165km/722 miles; Shanghai 1500km/930 miles; Canton 2200km/1365 miles; Chengdu 850km/527 miles; Kunming 900km/558 miles), but for the Silk Road it is necessary to take the train to Lanzhou (676km/419 miles).
Another option is to take a two-day bus journey (return trip) to Yan’an.
The sandy landscape of rough, furrowed rock is typical of northwestern China. The caves of Yan’an hollowed out of the rock now house a museum, but in the 30s and 40s the headquarters of China’s Communist Party were located there.
From Beijing to Xi’an via Anyang, Zhengzhou, Songshan, Kaifeng and Luoyang Photo Gallery
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