We will be visiting Qin Shihuang's Terra—cotta Army today. The museum is 35 Kilo-metres away from the urban area. It will take about half an hour to get there.
The slope we are getting down on is called Changle Slope. Downwards flows the Chanhe River, and this place is historically famous. Here used to be the first courier station east of the capital city in the Sui and Tang dynasties. It marks the only way for earlier business travellers to take. And it was the farthest place for towns-people to see off their eastbound friends or relatives. Emperor Zhong Zong of the Tang Dynasty had the Changle Palace built on the slope. Therefore the avenue running about seven kilometres from the Chanhe River to the east city wall is called Changle Road. This is the Chanhe River. Apparently it has a small flow ca-pacity. But more than 6,000 years back, it was quite wide and had a vast amount of water flowing through. Fishing in the river was an indispensable productive activity among Banpo inhabitants. The riv-er also provided a water source for the Dragon Pool (kno~vn as Xingqing Lake today) in the Xingqing Palace of the Tang Dynasty. Xi'an has eight rivers flowing around it, hence "a city of eight rivers". Those rivers refer to Jinghe, Weihe, Chanhe, Bahe, Fenghe, Haohe, Juhe and Zaohe rivers, respectively. Please turn right and look out at the structure with a gray— colored roof. It is the first museum built on the site of excavation in China. The museum houses the remains of the Banpo Village which dates more than 6000 years back to the Neolithic Age of matriarchal clan community.
The expressway that greets us is the first of its kind in the Northwest. It runs 23.9 kilometers from Xi'an to Lintong where Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terra-cotta Army is located. Along the expressway there are a number of tourist attractions such as the Banpo Village Museum, the Huaqing Pool, Lintong County Muse-um and the Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terra-cotta Army as well. In fact, this travel route is universally accepted as the most popular in the area of Xi'an . In order to meet the needs of the in-creasing number of tourists and clear up traffic congestion, the state government invested in the construction of this expressway in 1987. The whole project was completed and put into use in 1990. As a re-sult, the time-distance has been shortened by at least half an hour from Xi'an to Lintong County.his is Bahe River, formerly called Zishui River. As early as the Spring and Autumn Period (770--476 B. C. ), King Mugong of the Qin Kingdom, through one victory after another, drove the Jin Kingdom, one of the five powerful states of that age east off the Yellow River, and established the Zishui River as a dividing line be-tween the eastern part of the Qin K4ngdom and the Jin Kingdom. Later, King Mugong renamed the Zishui River as the Bahe River to display his feats of arms. By the way, the Chinese character "°Ô~" (ba) means "power". In this sense, the Babe River shows evidence of King Mugong's hegemonist power. Baqiao Bridge is the oldest and most famous stone—beam bridge in Chinese history. Its proto-type, simply a wooden structure, was built in the Han Dynasty. But it was burnt to the ground in 22 B. C.. Later, it was restored and renamed as the Everlasting Bridge. The present-day bridge was rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty. It is 386 metres in length. It has 64 holes and 408 columns. Each column is several millstones piled up.
So the bridge is extremely solid. Baqiao Bridge is a typical example of China's millstone columnated bridge, and counts as a unique one in the Chinese history of bridge works. In 1955, its top surface was
paved with steel—reinforced cemen slabs, but its lower part was untouched. The Bahe River is lined with rows of willow trees, and those green trees give much shade. There are historicel records about those weeping willows. As early as in the Sui and Tang dynasties, weeping willows were planted on the banks of the Bahe River. In early spring, catkins blew off and drifted about in the air, just like snowflakes. No wonder we have such a poetic version as
"Drifting like snowflakes around the Baqiao Bridge