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A woman of history

Xi'an tour guide informs and entertains her audience as she brings the city's fascinating and intriguing past to life, Yang Feiyue reports.

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-10 09:20
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Tour guide Wang Yu explains the historical background and details of specific cultural relics to visitors at the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

She usually spends three hours in the morning livestreaming tours of the museum and other major tourist attractions in the city, and then receives group travelers in the afternoon. Often wearing a light green suit jacket, with her hair pulled back, Wang moves among various attractions in Xi'an, explaining local history to a growing number of visitors.

"Daily numbers peaked at 20,000 since I started livestreaming tour in May, and more than 70 percent of them are newcomers on a daily basis," Wang says.

She says viewers found that they either haven't been to the museum before or had an unexplained tour, and then discovered their curiosity was satisfied by Wang's explanations.

To date, she has amassed more than 3.3 million followers on her account at the short-video platform Douyin where she is known as Jiemo (mustard).

The contrast between her youthful vitality and her smooth delivery of historical events has won her praise from both tourists and online viewers.

Many viewers have left comments about how they watched her video clips more than once just to take in all the interesting stories behind the cultural relics.

This, in turn, spurs Wang to make further inroads in local history and meet the rising expectations of her audience, she says.

"Our country has put a premium on traditional culture, and a tour guide acts like a bridge connecting it to the public," she says.

Wang studied tourism management at a college in Hunan province during 2016-20, a major she chose as she believed it would bring more opportunities to travel.

Yet, the course exposed her to the pleasure of history and woke her up to the long history of her hometown Xi'an.

Wang started to work as a guide at a local agency after graduation.

She first dug into the culture of the Qin (221-206 BC) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, focusing on attractions like the Huaqing Pool, a hot spring-endowed imperial palace, and the Terracotta Warriors.

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