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"Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 4" Top 5 Page for this destination Banpo Neolithic Village Tip by mke1963

Banpo Neolithic Village, Xi'an: 15 reviews and 18 photos

Today Banpo sits among smoky factories, white-tiled apartment blocks and busy roads, and it requires some imagination to picture these primitive farmers using their tools to plant crops and fashion pots. Ongoing studies at Banpo and other early Yellow River civilisation sites will yield more discoveries over time. It is certainly a strange experience to close your eyes at Banpo and just feel that you are standing where civilisation all began. It is also a pity that after such a glorious start, China?s pottery industry now seems to focus on producing white rectangular tiles or the most appalling, tacky objects for tourists.
Nearby, a modern day re-creation of the village has been developed to show Chinese tourists what those days were like. Judging by the scathing comments in English language guide books, it is unlikely that many Westerners visit it now. Having said that, the man at the entrance said that I was the first foreign tourist he had seen in some days, so maybe Western tourists are skipping Banpo entirely.
I was impressed by Banpo. Considering the standards of most Chinese museums, this one looked loved and well tended: a museum curator volunteered to show me around the exhibition room and pointed out some of the less obvious points of some of the artefacts. A small stand has a surprisingly wide collection of books and brochures in English, along with the usual collection of cheap souvenirs. Elsewhere in the gardens, several other shops sell Shaanxi farmers primitive paintings (I must admit that I bought two because I quite like them) and another that was crammed full of the most awful silk clothing and other junk.

The Lonely Planet suggests that the "general consensus is that it is tacky and boring, but the occasional traveller comes away singing its praises". But just as Basil Fawlty exclaimed "What do you expect to see out of the window of a hotel bedroom in Torquay?", what do you expect to see at a museum that explains the history of one of the world's first human settlements?

Directions: Bus #105 stops near the museum
Phone: +86 29 8351 2375

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 12, 2004
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