Oxford – Beijing – Xi’an 牛津北京西安

Year 9 and 10 Mandarin students have been practising their mandarin language skills whilst getting under the skin of Chinese culture on our highly-popular China Trip 2016. The experience began at the Beijing Chinese Language & Cultural College where they took part in a Chinese Traditional Dance lesson. Over the course of the trip, the girls saw many landmark sites including a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City – a city within a city, enclosed by high walls where the Imperial Palace court lived in isolation from the outside world. The 999+ rooms now house museums full of imperial collections. Then they visited the Capital Museum (首都博物馆), an art museum in Beijing which houses a large collection of ancient porcelain, bronze, calligraphy, painting, jade, sculpture, and Buddhist statues from imperial China as well as other Asian cultures.

The following days saw visits to the Great Wall of China at JuYongGuan which is the nearest section of the Great Wall to Beijing. JuYongGuan Pass was built in 1368 and lead to Mongolia. The Great Wall at this point is 8.5 metres high, 6.5 metres wide at the base and 5.7 metres wide at the top and was built between the 5th Century BC and the 16th Century AD to keep out invaders. Followed by Qinghua University and  Yuanming Yuan – The Old Summer Palace, known in Chinese as Yuan Ming Yuan (the Gardens of Perfect Brightness), and originally called the Imperial Gardens.
The girls and staff then spent time with their host families and penapls from our partner school – Beijing No.9 School. The girls were able to experience a day of school life in China before departing on the overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an. Xian City Xi’an is one of the few cities in China where the old city walls are still visible with foundations built during the Ming Dynasty. They form a rectangle with a circumference of 14km, each side of the wall has a gateway, and over each stand three towers. At each of the four corners is a watch tower, and the wall is 12 meters high with a width at the top of 15 to 18 metres.

The Bell and Drum Towers are stately, traditional buildings, marking the geographical centre of the ancient capital. From these important landmarks extend streets going East, South, West and North, which connect the Towers to the corresponding East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall dated from the Ming Dynasty.
Visit the Folk Art Museum.

The next day saw a highlight – visiting the Terracotta Army. Buried in pits over 2000 years ago to guard the tomb of the Emperor Qin, this army of Terracotta soldiers with their armaments, horses and chariots is a truly remarkable sight. The on-going restoration since their discovery less than 30 years ago is a great achievement. There are nearly 7000 warriors in the three pits at an average 1.8m high, all with individual features. From here, the girls went to Banpo Village which is a Neolithic village close to Xian, occupied from 4500BC until around 3750BC by the ‘Yangshao culture’.

The following day, the girls returned to Beijing where they relaxed at the Beijing Zoo which is home to around 900 different species and some 20,000 animals. Some of the most popular attractions are the rare animals of China such as golden monkeys, milu deer, northeast tigers and the pandas. The busiest area of the Beijing Zoo is the famous Panda House. After lunch, they visited Wangfujing Street which is a seven hundred-year-old commercial street, houseing a wide variety of shops and boutiques including the Oriental Plaza (Dongfang Guangchang) – the biggest store in Wangfujing. The perfect place for our students to buy souvenirs!

A truly fantastic experience for all the girls and staff involved and we would like to thank our hosts for their warm hospitality. We can’t wait to welcome you back to Oxford High!