I always knew that this former capital was predominately Buddhist given its history with monks traversing along the old road from India spreading their knowledge and scriptures, erecting statues and temples along the way. What I didn’t know is that Xi’an is also home to a group of Silk Road’s descendants — Hui — an ethnic group who reside around the city’s Muslim quarters, and whose ancestors built one of the oldest mosques still in use today, 1,360 years ago.
Like travellers before me, I went to Xi’an with the purpose of visiting the archeological site where ten thousand clay soldiers were built under the mighty emperor Qin around 220 BC. A man with great ambition, Qin not only created a large scale mausoleum, filled it with warriors and horses to guide him to the afterlife, but he also unified China and began the Great Wall north of Beijing. His reputation led me to Xi’an to learn more about his era and this historic city.