Category Archives: Travel & Photography

Our Top Ten Photos of 2012

photo2012

Since 2010, we (the master of  wjd.in and gzz.in ) selected our top ten photos and posted them in our blog every year. 2012 must have passed, let us enjoy the Top Ten Photos of 2012!

Photo sharing only, you can click to enlarge.

TOP 10——Early Spring

Title:Early Spring
Location:Luoxiu Road ,Shanghai Xuhui
Time:Jan 23, 2012

TOP 10——Omg Ma Ni Bei Mei Hong

Title:Omg Ma Ni Bei Mei Hong
Location:Tashilhunpo monastery ,Tibet Shigatse
Time:Sep 28, 2012

TOP 10——Summer, Rain, Lotus

Title:Summer, Rain, Lotus
Location:Daming Lake ,Shandong Jinan
Time:Jul 27, 2012

TOP 10——Wait for Lineage

Title:Wait for Lineage
Location:Nam Co ,Tibet Lhasa
Time:Oct 1, 2012

TOP 10——The World Outside

Title:The World Outside
Location:Ba Da Guan ,Shandong Qingdao
Time:Jul 28, 2012

TOP 10——Endless Night

Title:Endless Night
Location:Hong Yadong ,Chongqing Yuzhong
Time:Sep 21, 2012

TOP 10——In Tang Dynasty

Title:In Tang Dynasty
Location:Famen Temple ,Shaanxi Xian
Time:Apr 2, 2012

TOP 10——Capture the Moment

Title:Capture the Moment
Location:Singapore ,Asia
Time:Jan 12, 2012

TOP 10——Mother River

Title:Mother River
Location:The Yellow River ,Gansu Lanzhou
Time:Oct 4, 2012

TOP 10——Toward the Roof of The World

Title:Toward the Roof of The World
Location:Gyatso ,Tibet Dingri
Time:Sep 29, 2012

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Click here to view those photos which to be eliminated out of “Our Top Ten Photos of 2012″.

The last photographs:

Our Top Ten Photos of 2011

Our Top Ten Photos of 2010

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Changan Travel Guide:Hui

Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!

Shaanxi Cuisine, also known as Qin Cuisine, is the representative culinary achievement in the northwest China. In comparison to other Chinese cuisines, it is outstanding in three aspects. Firstly, due to Shaanxi’s geographical location in the center of China, various kinds of materials deriving from both north and south China are adopted by Shaanxi Cuisine. Second is the special cooking skills of the local chefs, including Tun (deep-fry), Qiang (fry quickly in hot oil, then cook with sauce and water), Chao (stir-fry), Zheng (cook by use of steam), Dun (braise) and so on. Finally is its frequently use of salt, vinegar, capsicum and garlic, making the savory flavor of sour, spicy and fragrant.

The history of Shaanxi Cuisine is said to be as long as the national’s civilization, retaining the table characteristics of the Qin, Han and Tang dynasties. At present, the Shaanxi Cuisine is divided into the Guanzhong (central Shaanxi), Shannan (south Shaanxi) and Shanbei (north Shaanxi) cuisines according to their geographical locations. Here, in Xian, the Guanzhong Cuisine plays the vital role in the citizens’ daily lives as well as the Shannan and Shanbei dishes supply the gastronomists with another choice.

Visitors to Xian must do two things: one is to see the clay figures of terra cotta warriors and horses. The other is to taste Yang Rou Pao Mo (a soup dish that involves breaking wheat flour flat bread into a bowl and adding a delicious mutton stock). Before dinner, you will be served one or two pieces of wheat flour flat bread which you into tiny chunks, the smaller the better.

The waiter or the waitress will then hand your bowl to the cook who mixes the bread and mutton soup with an appropriate relish. When the steaming hot meal is brought in, the waiter will also offer you sweet crisp pickled garlic, coriander, and hot pepper sauce.

In Xian, there is a must for travelers to try the delicious dumplings. While tasting those dumplings, customers will be astonished by the cooks’ smart cooking methods include steaming, boiling, pan-frying, deep frying, and roasting. It seems that all of the indigenous meat and vegetables can be used for the dumplings’ stuffing, such as pork, mutton, beef as well as celery, radish, cabbages, etc.

Nowadays, by the cooks’ continuously improving, the dumpling has been one of the best foods of Xian to entertain travelers from home and abroad. It must be a great pity if you miss tasting the Xian’s featured Dumpling Banquet. Usually, the Dumpling Banquet consists of a number of steamed dumplings as well as the family style dumplings are boiled which can be easily found in some chophouses distributed in Xian City.

It is hardly for any traveler to taste all of the Xian snacks in his short stay here. That is because no one could point out exactly how many kinds of snacks exist in this historic city. In fact, discovering and enjoying as many as local snack should be only next to visiting the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. If you are a gourmet longing for typical Chinese food, the various kinds of Xian snacks will give you as much personal satisfaction as possible, ranging from dim sum, candy, cracker to dried fruit and dessert.

When you ask locals for a place to find the featured Xian snacks, it is no doubt that you will be suggested to visit the Moslem Street firstly although this city’s main composition of population is Han. As a unique characteristic, the Moslem food occupies a vital role in the Xian Cuisine (also Shaanxi Cuisine), partly because the Hui people have inhabited here in a large number for many years.

Anyway, this narrow but prosperous street is the largest assembling place for all of the Moslem food over half of which are the Moslem snacks.

Alternatively, you can have some snack at the elegant Moslem restaurants which are distributed everywhere in the city area.

As the representative of Shaanxi Cuisine, Guanzhong dish is well know for cooking pork and mutton as well as in strong and heavy flavor.

In addition, the simplex but choice material in a course gives a pure taste to the Guanzhong dish. Shannan dish emphasizes on the use of pepper, having a spicy flavor.

Also using pork and mutton frequently, the Shanbei dish is usually cooked by steaming.

How Yang Rou Pau Mo is served. The custom is both unique and interesting. When you order the meal you will be given a large bowl and a quantity of round, flat unleavened bread (nan bread). The amount of bread depends entirely upon the size of your appetite! You have to break the bread into small pieces so that it can absorb the flavor of the liquid.

Be warned, the bread is hard and it will prove something of a test of strength for your fingers but the smaller you break the pieces, the better the result. Once you have prepared your bread, you pass your bowl to the chef who will stir it into a pot of hot mutton soup. After some five to ten minutes he will ladle the soup and bread back into your bowl with a quantity of mutton.

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Changan Travel Guide:Tomb

Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.

Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life.

A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).

The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers’ itinerary.

Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.

The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China’s National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.

No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994.Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.

Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.

Since Oct. 1st, 2010 the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum have been combined into one large tourist area, Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Park, which also includes three other small sites opened in 2011.

The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the nearby three unopened sites (namely the Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, the Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and the Museum of Stone Armor) constitute the so-called Lishan Garden. Besides, 30 free shuttle buses have been available for visitors’ convenience to travel between the Lishan Garden and the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses from then on.

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.

The No.1 Pit is the largest and first unearthed pit, which has over 6,000 full-scale terra cotta warriors and horses. At present, about 1,000 of them have been unearthed and ranked at a well-organized battle array.

These warriors’ facial expressions could be seen clearly although they have been buried for more than 2,000 years. Located to the northeast of No.1 Pit, the Terra Cotta Pit No.2 is more spectacular where the general, the kneeling archer and the warrior with saddle horse were excavated.

The Pit No.3 is smaller than the previous two, but it is said to be the headquarters of the emperor’s army.

Our guide will accompany you to these three pits and see the selected collections at the affiliated exhibition hall.

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Changan Travel Guide:Huashan

Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!

Situated in Huayin City, 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) east from Xi’an City of Shaanxi Province, Mt. Huashan is known as ‘The Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven’. It is one of the five sacred mountains in China. The other four mountains are Mt. Taishan in Shandong, Mt. Hengshan in Hunan, Mt. Hengshan in Shanxi, and Mt. Songshan in Henan.

In ancient times, Mt. Huashan was called Mt. Taihuashan. From a distance the five peaks seem to form the shape of a ‘flower’ (hua in Chinese), hence the name ‘Huashan’. It is famous for its natural vistas of steep and narrow paths, precipitous crags, and a high mountain range.

It is home to several influential Taoist temples where emperors of past dynasties made pilgrimages, making Mt. Huashan the holy land of Taoism.

Usually tourists climb up the mountain assisted by the iron chains along the way and start their tour from Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple), one of the main Taoist temples in China located at the foot of Mt. Huashan. It has the architectural style of the classical gardens in south China. There is a pond in the center and several pavilions around it.

Walking through the Wuyou Pavilion, the Long Corridor of Seventy-two Windows comes into view, and afterwards Qingke Ping where a big rock called ‘Huixin Rock’ can be seen. It is said that ‘Huixin Rock’ is a reminder for those who wish to stop their tour at this point. Beside the rock are the precipitous 370 rock steps called ‘Qianchi Zhuang’ considered to be the primary breath-taking path of Mt. Huashan.

When climbing, only a gleam of sky above can be seen, making climbers feel as if they were at the bottom of a well.

Across the ‘Qianchi Zhuang’ are two similar precipitous paths-respectively called ‘Baichi Xia’ and ‘Laojun Li’ above which climbers reach Mt. Huashan’s North Peak. There are precipitous cliffs on all sides of North Peak, making it look like a flat terrace in the clouds, hence the name Cloud Terrace Peak. It is 1,614 meters (about 5,295 feet) high.

Three sides are cliffs and one side is to the ‘Ca’er (the ear rubbing the cliff) Cliff’ which is the fourth precipitous path where tourists can climb up only by pressing an ear close to the cliff. In the waist of North Peak trees are luxuriantly green, creating a good rest spot.

When climbing over the ‘Blue Dragon Range’, regarded as the must-pass way to the other four peaks from North Peak, travelers arrive at Gold Lock Pass. Mt. Huashan visitors know that it is customary to buy a golden lock, and then lock it in the iron chains on both sides of the Gold Lock Pass for families and friends to pray for their safety and health.

It is a marvelous spectacle to see thousands of golden locks in the iron chains. Within the mountain gate of Gold Lock Pass, a huge golden lock of about 4 meters (about 4.37 yards) long and 1 .5 meters (about 1.64 yards) high stands in a big rock. It is made of pure copper and forged by 9,999 locks left by visitors. It is a popular photo site.

This huge lock can only be opened by throwing coins – one coin represent the status of an ordinary person; three coins, a blessed person and nine coins a most blessed one. Gold Lock Pass is the throat to Middle Peak, East Peak, South Peak and West Peak.

Other scenic spots in Middle Peak include Rootless Tree and Sacrificing Tree which have beautiful stories and add to the supernatural atmosphere of Middle Peak.

Tour guides may promote climbing the mountain at night to see the sunrise. Climbing to the top of East Peak requires 4 to 6 hours. East Peak has an altitude of 2,090 meters (about 6,857 feet) forming a platform for visitors to view the sunrise.

An astronomical telescope is provided here. The reference time for sunrise and sunset is 5:00a.m.-6:00a.m. in spring, 4:30a.m.-5:20a.m. in summer, 5:00a.m.-5:20a.m. in autumn, 5:30a.m.-6:00a.m. in winter.

One well-known scenic spot called the ‘Immortal’s Palm Peak of Mt. Huashan which is ranked as one of the ‘Eight Scenic Wonders of the Guanzhong Area (the plain area in the middle of Shaanxi Province)’ is located on East Peak.

Then it is a few pictures of people!

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Changan Travel Guide:Night

Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!

The show presented today is a recreation of a traditional entertainment attributable to a great variety of historical records and relics. In 1981, the artists of Xian’s Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe, inspired by the thriving tourist industry, conceived a series of programs to illustrate on stage the history, culture and artistic heritage of Xian.

At that time, the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, as a comprehensive form of art being lost in admiration, promptly came into the sight of the artists.

In order to embody the characteristics of the music and the dance of Tang accurately, the artists spent much time reading the relevant books, historical records and monographs on the entertainments enjoyed by the royal court. They also set about learning traditional arts from folk artists and consulted experts on certain issues.

With the written materials as a basis, they then visited many historical sites such as Dunhuang, Yungang and Longmen as these were a great source of contemporary visual information due to the presence of frescoes, carvings and sculptures.

As for the reason why it is called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were two branches, for one of which eating meat was not a taboo. One day, they couldn’t find meat to buy.

Upon seeing a group of big wild geese flying by, a monk said to himself: ‘Today we have no meat. I hope the merciful Bodhisattva will give us some.’ At that very moment, the leading wild goose broke its wings and fell to the ground. All the monks were startled and believed that Bodhisattva showed his spirit to order them to be more pious. They established a pagoda where the wild goose fell and stopped eating meat. Hence it got the name ‘Big Wild Goose Pagoda’.

A fenced-in area around the tower is planted with grass and flowers. In early spring, the tender plum blossoms and bright new grass surrounding the old tower provide a harmonious contrast. Not far from the Tower, modern shopping malls and a brightly decorated square reveal the prosperity of the city.

When night falls, lanterns hung from the eaves illuminate the tower, making it even more enchanting.

There are eight main districts to display the dragon element and the historical and cultural features of Xian by hi-tech facilities mixed with sound, light, electricity, as well as miniatures of some famous attractions in China and the world. It is the top choice for citizens and tourists to see the city during the Chinese New Year.

It is one of the most important annual games in the city and also an international sporting platform. At the same time, many people at the home and abroad would know much more about this ancient city by participating in this athletic contest.

By now, the International Marathon has become a special name card in expanding international exchange and operation for the city.

Then it is a few pictures of people!

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Changan Travel Guide:Ancient

Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!

The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the Tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.

The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xian was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance of its tower.

The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.

The tower has three layers of eaves but only two stories. Inside, a staircase spirals up. The grey bricks of the square base, the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-plating on the roof and gilded color painting make the tower a colorful and dramatic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture. In addition to enhancing the beauty of the building, the three layers of eaves reduce the impact of rain on the building.

As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometers (2.49 miles) from the downtown of the city. Standing in the Da Ci’en Temple complex, it attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion, its simple but appealing style of construction, and its new square in front of the temple. It is rated as a National Key Cultural Relic Preserve as well as an AAAA Tourist Attraction.

This attraction can be divided into three parts: the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Da Ci’en Temple, and the North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should ‘built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,’ so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xian City Wall. It’s the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.

After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet) wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 120 meters, there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts on the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5,948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.

Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.

The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of the ancient music and dance, is a must when you visit Xian. The city, which was formerly known as Chang’an has a very long history, and was the imperial capital during 13 dynastic periods. Of these, the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) was the most prosperous and glorious of all. The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show is an outstanding exponent of this ancient stable and prosperous society, keeping alive its splendid culture and providing an insight into the peaceful life style of the period.

As an art form, the show has its roots in folk fetes, when dances were first performed by people as part of rituals of prayer for a good harvest or a better life. Over thousands of years, the dances developed from a few simple postures or gestures to become delicate and artistic reaching a peak during the Tang Dynasty. Unlike some other regimes, the Tang was open to outside influences and was willing to take in the best of various art forms of not only the past dynasties but also the ethnic groups in the northwestern China as well as central and western Asia.

Thus a wide range of unusual oriental musical instruments, many techniques such as painting, sculpting, pattern and costume design, cuisine and dining etiquette, singing and dancing was accepted by the Chinese, paving the way for the kind of entertainment that is now the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. By combining poetry with the skilled playing of musical instruments, singing, dancing and also stunning costumes, the modern presentation is certain to give you an impressive view of ancient China including its splendid history, brilliant arts, distinct traditions and customs.

The Great Mosque in Xian is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China and its location is northwest of the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane.

According to historical records engraved on a stone tablet inside, this mosque was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This was a result of Islam being introduced into Northwest China by Arab merchants and travelers from Persia and Afghanistan during the mid-7th century when some of them settled down in China and married women of Han Nationality. Their descendants became Muslim of today. The Muslim played an important role in the unifications of China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Hence, other mosques were also built to honor them.

Famen Temple, renowned for storing the veritable Finger Bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha, is located in Fufeng County of Shaanxi Province, 120km east of Xian and 96km west of Baoji. With a history of 1,700 years, Famen Temple is considered the “Forerunner of the Ziggurat in Central Shaanxi.”

The Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area comprises four sectors including the Temple Gate Square, Foguang Avenue, Famen Temple, and the Namaste Dagoba. Upon completion the scenic area will be the “No. 2 Cultural Symbol of Shaanxi”, second only to the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses.

It will stand out as a world-class cultural scenic area featuring the “Time-honored Buddhist Holy Land and Age-old Classic Buddhist Site.”

Between Temple Gate Square and Foguang Avenue stand four gates, Foguang Gate, Prajna Gate, Bodhi Gate and Perfect Wisdom Gate. Foguang Gate is where the light of Buddha is said to deliver all beings from torment and guide them to the Buddhist Faramita.

Inside the Foguang Gate are two still water pools known as the “Heart-Pacifying Pools.” As a sacred symbol of Buddhism, the lotus flower living in mud, but not stained by it, signifies the purity of Buddhists in the impure material world. Prajna refers to the great wisdom of Buddhism. The Prajna Gate means that during Buddhist medication, only by observing the guidance from prajna, can perfect wisdom and the most supreme Buddhist enlightenment be achieved.

Then it is a few pictures of people!

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