Please look left, you will catch sight of a magnificent ancient building with painted poles and engraved beams. It's called the Drum Tower, and stands 300 metres apart from the Bell Tower a-head:of us. These two buildings were not right opposite each other at one time in history until the Bell Tower was relocated to the ur-ban centre. To offer time service, ancient Chinese cities made it a rule to strike a bell in the mornings and beat a drum in the If you asked what snack natives of Xi'an like best, many peo-ple would come up with cubed pancake in mutton soup. On our left side is the highly-reputed Tong Shengxiang Restaurant which spe-cializes in this local snack. It boasts a history of over 70 years. Its chefs were once invited .for a demonstration at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
Here is the Bell Tower Hotel,'a seven—storey modern hotel with more than 670 beds. It began operations in the spring of 1983, keeping its house open to guests from every corner of the world.
Across the street is the Bell Tower Xinhua Bookstore, the biggest distributor and intermediary business of books in China. Xi'an Xinhuan Bookstore is affiliated with 41 retail departments and six specialized ones. However, the Bell Tower Xinhua Book-store is the largest of all in size.
The glass-walled building on the left is Tangcheng Department Store, which counts as the largest modern business complex in the northwest area. It started business operations in 1984, and now sells more than 30, 000 varieties of goods in different sizes and col-ors. In fact, the store leads the entire commercial industry in the scales of sales, profits, merchandise variety and scientific manage-ment.
Across the street is the Luomashi Garment Market, or rather the largest centre of individual garment traders in Xi'an. With a wide choice of stylish garments available at flexible prices in 100 household-run stalls, the market has been a busy attraction to the consuming public at various levels.
On the left side stands Xi'an Foreign Language Bookstore, the city's biggest distributor of various books, magazines and newspa-pers in foreign languages published both at home and abroad. At the left turning is the Overseas Chinese Department Store, and one door further north is the Friendship Store, specially opened to foreign guests and compatriots from Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong.
Ahead of us on the left is Tanshijie Vegetable and Non-staple Food Market, the largest trading centre in Xi'~in. Nine out of ten stall owners are farmers, individual vendors and small handicrafts-men. Hundreds of items are available on the market. It's run by a full-time management and service force responsible for keeping jus-tice and order, balancing prices and maintaining a clean market. Xi'an boasts 50-odd agricultural market places at present, and they have played an active role in enlivening the urban economy and meeting the needs of the general public for agricultural products. Across the street is the Imperial City Hotel, a tourist hotel jointly built by Sino-Japanese press circles. The hotel stands on the site of the Imperial City of the Tang Dynasty 1,400 years back, hence its name.
The building on the right is Xl'an Restaurant which took shape in 1927 and erected the present establishment in 1977. Being the largest of its kind in the northwest area, Xi'an Restaurant offers an assortment of dishes in authentic local flavour, and with its 14 din-ing-rooms, it boasts a reception capacity of more than 1,800 guests at time. Right in this restaurant more than once before 1940, late Premier Zhou Enlai had held banquets to entertain patriotic KMT generals, anti- Japanese democratic personages and overseas friends. Now the restaurant often caters for many grand banquets. Ahead of us is the Hyatt Hotel, a five-star Hyatt-run tourist hotel with more than 400 rooms.
Ahead of us on the right is the Minsheng Department Store. Its prototype, Minsheng General Co-op Store orginated from the combination of over 30 vendors by the People's Government in 1956 and again in 1958, it was rebuilt into Minsheng Department Store with government funds.
At the nothernmost end of Jiefang Road is Xi'an Railway Sta-tion. Xi'an is an important hub of communications in China. Rail-ways, airlines and highways extend in all directions. Xi'an Railway Station leads the whole country in the transportation of both passen-gers and freight, and links up North China, East China and Central China with the Nothwest and Southwest.
Less than two kilometres in full length, Jiefang Road, howev-er, is flanked by more than 500 shops, services, restaurants and banks. Now Jiefang Road has turned into a commercial street just as bustling as Wangfujing Street in Beijing. On our left side is Xi'an Stadium, a usual place for important sports meetings. Across the road is the Revolution Park which is meant for an important historical episode of Xi'an city. On the eve of the Northern Expedition War in the spring of 1926, Liu Zhen-hua, a general under Northern Warlord Wu Peifu led 100,000 sol-diers to besiege Xi'an city for a wider sphere of influence. But under the command of General Yang Hucheng, the Shaanxi National Army which was defence against warlod soldiers. By order of the Guangzhou.National Government, General Feng Yuxiang moved his troops to Xianyang from Gansu Province, and launched a sur-prise attack on the headqarters of Liu's forces, thus relieving Xi'an from enemy encirclement. However, Liu's eight-month siege of Xi'an claimed more than 50,000 soldiers and civilians on the defen-sive, about one—fourth of the city's total population. The Revolu-tion Park, therefore, was built in honor of the martyrs who had been buried on the site.
Now we are getting into North Street. At the extreme north stands the North Gate Tower, and straight ahead of us is the Bell Tower. Raise your eyes a bit, and you can see the giant clock on the top of the Telecommunications Office Building. It strikes the hours with a sweet sound, a recorded chime of the Jingyun Bell which belongs to the Tang Dynasty. The bell is now housed in Shaanxi History Museum. More than once since 1949, the Central People's Broadcasting Station has played back the recording on New Year's eve. Jingyun Bell stood first on the list at the World Famous Bells Exhibition in 1964.
This place is called Xin Hua-men, for it marks the site of Xin Hua-men Gate of the Manchu city of the Qing Dynasty. The structure with sprawling green vines is Shaanxi People's Theatre. It's a building of carved beams and painted rafters. The History of World Architecture shows a record of the theatre because of its unique and elegant style. The theatre is equipped with world-class acoustics, light modulators and a rise-and-fall orchestra pit. It's well suited for the staging of various types of drama~ Yisu Theatre at the intersection of the First West Road has a troupe of most famous Qin opera artists in China~ Qin opera, a tra-ditional type of drama in China, has a recorded history of more than 1,000 years. Beijing opera was developed by combining the best features of Qin, Hui and Kun operas, during Qian Long's reign of Qing Dynasty.
Jiaozi or Chinese dumpling is a favorite food with northerners in China. When it comes to a family reunion on a festive or holiday occasion, all the members of a family make it a rule to divide the task of making jiaozi. Some of them prepare the filling, some roll out wrappers, and others wrap up dumplings. Then, the whole family will sit around and enjoy the fruits of their labor together. Defachang Dumplings Restaurant, situated northwest of the Bell Tower, is the most famous and experienced dumpling restaurant in the city of Xi'an.
The South Street runs from the Bell Tower to the South Gate, and it is one of the oldest streets in Xi'an. Around herewas the An Shang-men Gate of the imperial Chang'an City during Sui and Tang dynasties; and the street we are riding down was called An Shang-men Street. The street was extended in 1981, and the department stores, the banks and other establishments on both sides of the street have been built or enlarged since then. The street on the east with a decorated archway is called Shu Yuan-men Street. It preserves the architectural features of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Xi'an Normal School, situated on the street, is the site of the former Central Shaanxi Academy. The seat of learning was the largest academic centre in Shaanxi Province, and also a cultural centre of Xi'an from the Ming to the Qing Dy-nasty. Also available there are the Confucian Temple, Xi'an Prefec-tural School and Chang'an County School.
The pagoda standing at the entrance of Shu Yuan-men Street is called Baoqing Temple Pagoda. It has seven storeys and stands 23 meters above the ground, The temple was destroyed in the late Tang Dynasty, but rebuilt in the Ming Dy. nasty. Now, the temple is gone, and only that brick pagoda remains intact. Until now, we have already covered the major streets in the urban district of the city. Judging from what we have seen, the Bell Tower is the urban centre, and four main streets radiate to the east, west, north and south respectively. These streets are wide and symmetrical. Their layout is much the same as what Bai Juyi, a Tang-dynasty poet, says about Chang'an City in these lines:
Households in their tens of thousands,
Scatter as if on a checkerboard.
The twelve streets go crisscross,
With urban blocks like vegetable plots.
From the South Gate to Nan Shao-men is the Nanguan Main Street. Now, we have already got out of the urban area into the outskirts. The city wall is a dividing line between the so-called "in-ner city" and "outer city" on the lips of the local natives. In fact, the downtown area has sprawled far beyond the city wall, but in their eyes, "the inner city" is still within the city wall, and the "outer city" is still outside it. It takes as short as two or three min-utes or as long as one or two hours to go downtown by bus from the outskirts.
This road is called Chang'an Road, one of the longest in Xi'an. On the west is Xi'an Hotel, one of the four-star tourist hotel in the city. Opposite to Xi'an Hotel is the Tang Dynasty Music Palace. It is a luxury music and dance restaurant run with Chinese and foreign capital. It serves a wide assortment of Tang-style dishes to its customers, and at the same time, entertains them with Tang-style song and dance performances. The drama entitled Music and Dance in the Tang-dynasty Style created by Shaanxi Song and Dance Ensemble after its writer and directors made a detailed study of the dress, customs, etiquette and court life reflected by the tomb frescos of the Tang Dynasty. The drama was first put on the stage in the early 1980's, and has been well received by a wide range of tourists. The ensemble has given nearly 1000 special performances of the drama both at home and abroad.
From the historical point of view, Xi'an has been a cultural and educational centre in China. An imperial university began to take shape during Emperor Wu Di's reign of the Han Dynasty, and it was the first state institution of higher learning in China. The world --famous Chinese imperial examination system also took its source from ancient Chang'an. There have been many developments in ed-ucation since the founding of the People's Republic of China. There were only two institutions of higher learning in Xi'an in 1949, and today this number has risen to more than 40. Xl'an comes third in the number of colleges and universities, next only to Beijing and Shanghai.
Ladies and gentlemen, you must be very tired, I'm sure. So no arrangements will be made for this evening. Tomorrow morn-ing, I'll take you to the Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terra --cotta Army, known as the eighth world wonder. Thank you all. See you tomorrow.