Huaqing Hot Springs
Huaqing Hot Springs © David Wiley
The Huaqing Hot Springs, located about 22 miles (35km) east of Xi'an city, at the base of the Lishan Mountains, is where the ancient emperors bathed and relaxed in scenic surroundings. Huaqing is one of the Hundred Famous Gardens of China and the setting of the baths is very beautiful. The spa has been operating since the days of the Tang Dynasty, and its warm (109°F/43°C) mineral waters, containing lime, sodium carbonate, and sodium sulphate, are still enjoyed by locals and visitors today.
The waters are particularly recommended for the treatment of dermatitis, rheumatism, arthritis and muscular pain. The ancient imperial bathing pools can be visited, including the Hibiscus pool, dating from the year 712, which has been restored and is open to the public. There is also a fascinating museum at the site containing building materials from the Tang Dynasty.
Another attraction at the springs is the Hovering Rainbow Bridge, which reflects the sunset in such a way that it appears to be a rainbow. Visitors can take a cable car up the mountain to experience the aerial view. Huaqing is the setting for a famous Chinese love story about the Emperor and his lover and this romance is the central theme of the attraction. Visitors will only need a few hours here, but it makes for a good side excursion on their way to the Terracotta Warriors.