Quebec City Streetscapes Upper Town

Quebec City September

 

All these photos were taken within the City walls.  Above is Rue St Louis and the two photos below are on Avenue St. Denis, just north of the Quebec Citadel.

Quebec City September

Quebec City September

And, after we had wandered all the way across the Plains of Abraham and back, the two photos below were (probably?) taken on Rue D’Auteuil, opposite the statues of international poets and thinkers shown in this post.

Quebec City September

Quebec City September

 

This may have been on rue St Jean, but by then I had lost my sense of direction other than knowing that downhill would eventually lead back to the ferry terminal and restaurants!

Quebec City September

As we walked by the ‘skyscraper’ building shown here, I overheard a tour guide say to his charges that the building had been modelled on the Empire State Building.  Note the Quebec flag with its Fleur de Lis on the top.

Quebec City September

Almost exactly one year before this we were in China, in Xi’an, whose flag (showing its famous bell tower which my tour DID NOT see!)  is flying on the left of the others on Quebec’s City Hall.  I can only presume that Quebec has some sort of a twinning relationship with Xi’an, Namur, Paris, Bordeaux, and Calgary.

Quebec City September

 

 

 

What is the National Bird of China?

Typical scene arriving in Xi'an from the airport.

Typical scene arriving in Xi’an from the airport.

The first five photos in this post were taken in Xi’an. When we drove from the airport into the centre of the city (remember the lovely city wall from 5 posts ago?) there were hundreds and hundreds of unfinished multi-storey buildings. Not only unfinished, but no work going on at them. Most had a building crane beside or on top of them. We never did get a straight answer as to why there were so many buildings in that state in Xi’an. I have since read one article that suggested that some cities had overbuilt, expecting influxes of rural Chinese, which had failed to materialize.

Row on row...

Row on row…

One of the rare buildings where work was progressing.  This was near the City Wall.

One of the rare buildings where work was progressing. This was near the City Wall.

So, what is the national bird of China? A Building Crane.

  Only the shells: where have the cranes gone?

Only the shells: where have the cranes gone?

We saw unfinished buildings in other cities, but nowhere near the number we saw in Xi’an.

Here is a finished building, paying homage to an iconic landmark in a European city!

A finished building. Most likely not a residential building.  It was not the only building I saw in China with an Eiffel Tower on the top.

A finished building. Most likely not a residential building. It was not the only building I saw in China with an Eiffel Tower on the top.

 

Our tour included one high-speed train ride: from Xi’an ‘s centre-of-city station to Louoyang.  I wish we could have done all our long  internal trips by train;  they are so much more efficient than airplanes and airports.  These two shots were done through the train window – moving at somewhat less than the highest speed the train was capable of.  The thing to note is all the localized burning – no wonder China is full of smog.

Photo quite heavily processed to show more contrast and colour than was really visible through the smog.

Photo quite heavily processed to show more contrast and colour than was really visible through the smog.

Also highly processed to counteract the smog.

Also highly processed to counteract the smog.

Next post: A reblog of another blogger’s comments on empty cities.

Xi’an at Dusk

Advertising an important event.

Advertising an important event.

We arrived in Xi’an at dusk, after an afternoon flight from Beijing.

The two Chinese characters “西安” in the name Xi’an literally mean “Western Peace”.  (And neither character is on the flag above!)

Xi’an became a cultural and political centre of China in the 11th century BCE with the founding of the Zhou Dynasty. The capital of Zhou was located southwest of contemporary Xi’an. Following the Warring States period, China was unified under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) for the first time, with the capital located at Xianyang, just northwest of modern Xi’an.  The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and his mausoleum just to the east of Xi’an almost immediately after his ascension to the throne.   It is the Terracotta Army that most tourists come to Xi’an to see.

But Xi’an has other attractions.

The city is surrounded by a well-preserved city wall which was re-constructed in the 14th century during the early Ming Dynasty and was based on the inner imperial palace of Tang Dynasty.

Rent-a-bike on the city wall.  Unfortunately, not part of our itinerary.

Rent-a-bike on the city wall. Unfortunately, not part of our itinerary.

Xian is fortunate to have its city wall.  Most like it in China have been destroyed.

Xian is fortunate to have its city wall. Most like it in China have been destroyed.

It was getting very dark so the photo was grainy.  For effect, I just added more grain to it.

It was getting very dark so the photo was grainy. For effect, I just added more grain to it.

Detail from a roof line.  Seven mythical animals.

Detail from a roof line. Seven mythical animals.

Light posts on top of the city wall.  Out with the old, in with the new.  October 1 is coming soon.

Light posts on top of the city wall. Out with the old, in with the new. October 1 is coming soon.

Turns out there are electric lights inside these lanterns, which came on just as we were leaving.

Turns out there are electric lights inside these lanterns, which came on just as we were leaving.

Inside the city wall and at the crossroads of its main axes are a Drum Tower and a Bell Tower. We saw them, briefly, at a distance, from the bus taking us to dinner and a Chinese Opera. This photo looks west from near the eastern gate, but you cannot see either of the towers.

Smog, at sunset, from Xi'an's city wall.

Smog, at sunset, from Xi’an’s city wall.

There were other interesting architectual and historical sites which we did not get to see including the city’s Muslim quarter, which is home to the Great Mosque of Xi’an, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, both spectacular towers well over 1,000 years old and which have survived great earthquakes. They protected Buddhist writings in the past.

Next post: Dinner at the opera!