Xian, located in the middle of the fertile Guanzhong Plain with Weihe River in the north and Qinling Mountains in the south, is one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization and the cradle of the Chinese nation. It is one of the four famous ancient capitals in the world and ranks first among the ancient capitals of China as it was used as a capital for the longest time in China’s history, it served as a capital for the largest number of dynasties (the exact number is 13), and it was the most influential capital. Xian was once China’s political, economic and cultural center and the first city to open to the outside world. The famed Silk Road starts from Xian in the east, and Chinese silk, tea and porcelain spread across the world through the great road since its opening during the Western Han Dynasty (202BC — AD8). The “eighth wonder of the world” — Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army stands right in the Lintong District of Xian. The long history and more than 6,000 years (as archaeological excavation shows) of cultural accumulation make Xian a “Natural History Museum”. Nowadays, over 10 million permanent residents live in this 10,752 square kilometers area, and Xian continues to attract more people because this amazing city becomes better with each passing day. It’s a perfect place to learn about China’s past and see what’s happening right now in the country.
Xian is home to a lot of historical sites. It was named as a World Famous Historical City by UNESCO as early as 1981. It really has plenty to offer visitors. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum surely needs no introduction. No one misses this world-renowned site on their Xian trips. Tourists can easily spend a couple of hours marveling at the over 8,000 life-size clay soldiers and taking in the fascinating history. The Ming Dynasty City Wall, built more than 600 years ago, is the largest and most complete surviving city wall in China. The best way to explore the City Wall is making the round of it on a bicycle. If you get to Xian by a normal train, you will see the wall towering in front of you as you exit from the train station.
If you didn’t already know, the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West is based on the experience of master monk Xuanzang who went on a pilgrimage to India for Buddhist scriptures in the Tang Dynasty. After he get back to Chang’an (Xian was called Chang’an in ancient times), Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built to preserve the Buddhist sutras and statues he brought back. Visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda to have some spectacular views of the city. Kill two birds with one stone by visiting Shaanxi History Museum on the same day as the museum and the pagoda are about only 2 kilometers away from each other. You totally can do it on foot or by bus. Shaanxi History Museum truly is a treasure house with a rich collection spanning more than one million years. Those precious cultural relics will tell you the splendid history and culture of Shaanxi Province.
Bell Tower and Drum Tower in the very heart of Xian are landmark buildings of the city. They look very impressive at night with lights on, and for shopping lovers, there are some shopping centers in the surrounding area. If you are craving for yummy local food, Muslim Quarter is the right place to go. Strolling down the bustling street in the stream of people, you just indulge yourself in the temping aroma of various snacks and try some here and there. BTW, don’t miss the unique Great Mosque hidden in the alleys.
If you think that’s all you can do in Xian, here are some simple questions for you. Just give “yes” or “no”. Have you watched the wonderful performance The Song of Everlasting Sorrow at the very place where the tragic love story between Emperor Xuanzong and Lady Yang took place 1,200 years ago? Have you conquered the most precipitous mountain under heaven, Huashan Mountain? Have you experienced the interesting shadow play and other folk customs at Gao Family Courtyard? Have you walked around the Huancheng Park to have a glimpse of the life of local people?
Xian is a wonderful place and definitely worth your precious time. You will have a lot of fun here. It’s easy for you to navigate the city by bus, taxi and metro and also very convenient for you to go to other popular Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu by high speed train and flight. If you are interested in visiting Xian in the future, please feel free to contact us for any information. We will be very glad to share what we know about our lovely city and try our best to help you plan your ideal tours.