Xian Travel Guide
Last updated by david at 2013-11-4
Xi'an, anciently known as Chang'an (meaning "eternal peace"), is the capital of Shaanxi Province and the biggest city in the northwest of China. It boasts a mild climate, fertile soil, beautiful scenery, abundant products, and numerous historical relics and sites.
Extending 116 kilometers from north to south, and 204 kilometers from east to west, Xi'an covers an area of 9,983 square kilometers (including the urban area of 1066 square kilometers), with nine districts and four counties under its jurisdiction. According to the 2003 census, it has a population of 7,160,000.
Xi'an has a long history. An old saying in China tells the unique position of this legendary city: "If you want to see China of 100 years ago, visit Shanghai; China of 500 years ago, Beijing; China of 2000 years ago, Xi'an." During its 3,100 years of development, 12 dynasties, including the Western Zhou (1046 BC-771 BC), Qin (221 BC-206 BC), Western Han (206 BC-25 AD), and Tang (618-907), made their capitals here for over 1,100 years, leaving abundant legacies to the city. During the Western Han and Tang dynasties, Xi'an was China's political, economic, cultural, and foreign exchange center, where people from all over the world lived in harmony. It was also the first stop on the Silk Road, linking up the oriental and western civilizations. The saying "In the east, there is Rome, in the west, Chang'an," best described the position of Xi'an at that time. Nowadays, Xi'an enjoys an equal fame with Athens, Cairo, and Rome as "one of the four major capitals of ancient civilization".
Xi'an boasts more than 4,000 historical sites, with over 120,000 pieces of unearthed cultural relics. There are 314 historical sites under protection, 84 of which are under provincial-level and national-level protection. Famous places of historical figures and cultural heritage include the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Banpo Village Remains, the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum, the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, Huaqing Pool, and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and Small Wild Goose Pagoda. The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses is praised as "the eighth major miracle of the world". The Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is the first Chinese historical site listed on the World Heritage List. The Neolithic Banpo Village Remains (approximately 7000 BC to 5000 BC) evidences early human activities in a matriarchal society. The Forest of Stone Steles Museum holds 3,000 stone steles of different periods, from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
The natural landscape around Xi'an is also marvelous. Huashan Mountain, one of the five best-known mountains in China, is famous for its breath-taking cliffs and unique beauty.
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