The Silk Road Series 1/16: The Glories of Chang-an

The Glories of Chang-an

The first episode in the series focuses on Chang-an, which in modern-day China is called Xi-an. It was formerly the capital of China and the source of the Silk Road which ran from there to Rome. In ancient times it was the largest city in the world, with more than 1,000,000 people living there and was an entrepot full of merchants of many nationalities.

The Glories of Chang-an

We get the first glimpse the Chinese ever allowed of the Emperor Qing-huang-di’s Sculptured Army, which has been described as the greatest archeological find of the 20th century; the tomb of Wu-di, as large as the Great Pyramid in Egypt; and the grave of Gao-zong and his wife Wu-zetian, the only Empress in Chinese history.

This episode also outlines the arrival of Buddhism in China at the beginning of the Christian era and the epic journey to the West made by Suang-zuang (Xuan-zang) in search of Buddhist scriptures and shows the temple of Xing-jiao Si, which houses his relics. Note that the Head monk at the temple shows a manuscript he believes comes from ancient India, but it is in fact a Burmese manuscript of recent provenance.

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