Xuzhou, a Chinese city steeped in ancient culture

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It is the birthplace of the first emperor of the Western Han Dynasty Liu Bang and home to 200 ancient tombs,  priceless relics and its own set of miniature terracotta warriors.

The ancient city of Xuzhou, in Jiangsu province, China, dates back to more than 2500 years.

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The Pan'anhu Water Town.A traditional wedding hall at the Pan'anhu Water Town in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province in China.Calligraphy master Hou Deyi illustrates Chinese calligraphy at the end of the tomb's tour.A statue of the Chu King guards the entrance to the tomb.

It draws many visitors from around the world, especially archaeological boffins and tourists interested in ancient culture. The foothill of the Lion Mountain leads to a tour of the tomb of the

Chu King Liu Wua. It was excavated in 1995 and made the list of the 100 most important archaeological  findings in China in the 20th century as it helped archaeological studies of the Han Dynasty.

The rock cave tomb is more than a 100 metres in length with chambers dug into the cliff-side.Treasures excavated from the  tomb includes the king's jade burial suit stitched together with gold, relics, stone cravings and miniature terracotta figures including worriers, dancers and musicians to entertain him, and cavalry horses. These  figures are not to be mistaken for the Terra-Cotta army in Xian during a tour of the tomb tour guides regale visitors with stories of hard fought battles, concubines and grave robbers who made off with some of the ancient loot. Another tour offering a trip back in time in the city is the Pan'anhu

Water Town. It opened more than a year ago but it replicates  old city charm. Red lanterns and ribbons adorn the classic architecture.

Visitors pass through a wedding hall complete with an ornate sedan chair, shops selling woven bamboo, local pearls, silk and eateries offer traditional food including braise fish, fried dumplings, black chicken soup and salty duck. Xuzhou is the gateway to five provinces - Jiangsu, Shadong, Henana and

Anhui and it has a population close to 10 million. Xuzhou Guanyin Airport provides flights to almost all of China's major cities. It is three hours by high-speed Beijing - Shangai rail from Beijing.

Other city tours on offer include:

* A eco- leisure tour to experience the city's outdoor offering of lakes, mountains and rivers including Yunlong mountain and lake.

* Temple tours as the city is steeped in religious history. These include trips to  Peach Mountain Buddhist Scenic Spot, Xinghua Buddhist Temple and the Water Moon Zen Temple.

* Learning more about the city's history at  Xuzhou Museum, Fame Museum and the Folk Custom Museum.

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