It has often been said that if China was a tree, cities such as Beijing would be jewels in its crown, while its deep roots would be represented by areas such as Xian. This is because no city in China has the rich and abundant history that Xian can boast. Although the dynastic era has long since passed, Xian has preserved numerous cultural relics and historical sites which offer a unique and unusual way to experience the old and glorious days of China. The beginning point of China's famous Silk Road and home to the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Xian draws numerous holidaymakers each year to its enormous cultural landscape and hub of history.
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Known as "Chang'an" throughout most of history, Xian was home to 13 dynasties and their ruling houses, most notably the Tang, Sui, Han and Qin dynasties, which spanned six centuries. Qin Shihuang was the first Emperor in history to unite China, and he also gave the world one of history's most extraordinary archaeological finds--the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. This site lures hundreds of thousands of travellers to the city on a yearly basis. The following are some additional facts about Xian, as well as its most popular attractions and activities:
Xian's Famous Bell Tower and City Centre
Xian is a joy to visit for essentially any traveller and an outstanding holiday destination for anyone interested in history, culture and impressive archaeological finds. The centre of the city is laid out similar to a grid, which makes it both easy to navigate and pleasantly compact. For this reason, it is a highly popular sightseeing destination in China. In the middle of this grid is the famous Bell Tower, and the city's four primary business streets branch out from this location.
A busy commercial area, the city square is also home to several universities and many commercial buildings featuring impressive architecture. Merely sightseeing along the ancient streets of Luomashi and Shuyuanmen--both of which are located near the Bell Tower--can keep even the most energetic visitors entertained for many days. Additionally, fantastic photo opportunities are found all through the city's centre and the surrounding regions.
Terracotta Warriors and Horses
Arguably Xian's most famous landmark, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses are the highlight for many who visit this ancient city. Buried underground for more than two centuries until their discovery in 1974, the Terracotta Army is one of the most historically significant archaeological discoveries of all times.
This collection showcases the highly skilled artists of ancient China, and also provides important facts about the Qin Dynasty's army. Truly an unforgettable site, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses should be placed at the top of virtually any traveller's must-see list.
Ancient City Wall
Xian's city wall was preserved extraordinarily well, and is now a lingering testimony to the construction and engineering skills of China's ancient inhabitants. Biking or walking around the wall is an interesting and awe-inspiring activity, during which one can enjoy different views of both the new and old sections of the city.
Wild Goose Pagoda
Located in southern Xian, the giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a 1300 year old, world-famous Chinese pagoda. The main attraction on Silk Road, it contains Buddhist relics, parchments and religious artifacts, and its architectural beauty has inspired thousands of artists the world over. A great place for photo opportunities, the Wild Goose Pagoda belongs on any visitor's itinerary.
Shopping in Xian
Whether one is interested in replicas of antiquities, folk handicrafts, or traditional goods and products, the Xian shopping district is the perfect place to purchase souvenirs. Renowned for imitations of Tang and Qin dynasty artefacts, the city's shopping district offers replicas of ancient bronze ware, pottery and apparel. In addition, holidaymakers can purchase paintings, paper cuttings, carvings, jade and porcelain-ware created by traditional, local artists.
Interestingly, Xian is well known for a fun and stimulating nightlife, and visitors can enjoy performances at the Tang Dynasty Dance and Music Theatre or the Qin Opera. Modern karaoke bars and lounges are also found in the commercial section of town, where cocktails, bar snacks and live entertainment can be enjoyed.
Local residents are friendly and welcoming, and are typically more than happy to assist tourists whenever possible. One of the oldest cities on earth, Xian is a great choice for anyone planning a holiday to China.