Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daming Palace National Heritage Park

Daming Palace National Heritage Park was  a bit underwhelming if only because I made the mistake of looking at artist renditions of what the palace looked like and I took that as fact. It happens. With a bit of reading after my visit I discovered that it is actually referred to as  The Daming Palace Ruins of Tang Dynasty National Heritage Park.

It was easy enough to find the Park. From my apartment I entered at Tonghuamen Zhan and took Line 1 to Beidajie Zhan. There I changed to Line 2 and got off at Daminggongxi Zhan and walked East the 20 minutes or so to the park. This will take you to the entrance to the Old Ruins with the cost being 60 RMB to enter. The rest of the park is free. You can also get off at Anyuanan Zhan, go East and you will find yourself at the Palace Entrance.

As we walked toward the Ruins we stumbled upon this couple rocking the Chinese tunes. She was banging her wooding sticks and screeching her songs while the old guy just sat glum faced and focused. He was either scared to death of her or stoned. They were actually very sweet and I spoke with them briefly and understood very little of what they said. They did seem amused at my attempted Chinese. I have found couples and groups of people all over Xi'an rocking these tunes with this style. They cluster near the city wall and at night and many times I have seem what looks like Talent show. Young kids join in and the elderly sit back smile and appear very proud watching the culture being transferred to the next generation. All good feelings and nostalgia aside, it sounds like a screeching cats fighting each other.

The ruins section of the park was massive. I could not count the number of monument, statues and artifacts that were a part of the walking tour telling the story of the Tang Dynasty and it's history. Remember this bad boy was built in 600 AD and China was already over 2500 years old.  The first Dynasty was the Xia Dynasty in 2700 BC. That puts China at about 4717 years old, give or take. Canada is all excited as they are celebrating their 150th birthday this year. A little perspective is always a great thing.

Clean. This park is clean like all public spaces in Xi'an. The cherry blossoms were just starting to fade and they added an "Asian" feel to the place, which being China is not an Asian feel but Asia. I suppose cherry blossoms in Washington DC or elsewhere in the west give a place an Asian feel. We walked for hours and being the history nerd that I am I loved it. As I said there was information and the celebration of the Tang Dynasty however Xi'an and the Old Silk road was ever present, as it is everywhere in this town.

With "this is stupid" and "this is only for foreigners" and "I'm bored" ringing in my ears after about an hour (good times) it was time for a MoBike Adventure. The free section of the park was larger than the ruins section plus it was littered with many kilometers of bike paths and trails. Have MoBike will ride but not after a few pictures on top of the Palace Ruins.  We rode for about 2 hours stopping now and then to check out more monuments that are there "only for Western tourists"

After our bike ride I lost my guide as she had to go to work. It was not the worst thing on this day. I wandered and rode just taking it all in. I went crazy with my Canon playing with the settings, trying different angles and composition aspects of taking photos. I do not have great skills but I am learning and enjoying it.

There was a third section to the park that I never got to that included a huge lake, manicured gardens and walking paths. If there is one thing about Xi'an is presents so many parks and leisure areas that there is no reason to sit at home. That being said on any given night you will find every area we lit up at night for your enjoyment as well and the Chinese take advantage of this. You will find them singing, dancing, exercising or just hang about being a part of the experience.

Is Daming Palace National Heritage Park exciting? That depends on what you are looking for. If you want the Disney experience then you should stay home and stare at your phone. If you want to wander for hours and soak up almost 3000 years of a 5000 year old culture that has a user friendly interface then this is place for you. After you wandering you can easily find a beer and great food outside the park. I had Biang Biang Mian (large Noodle Stir Fry) and a cold Han for about 8 Yuan, less than C$2.

A Han with Biang Biang Mian is just fun to say.

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