Xi’an, which means “Western Peace” in Chinese, is located on the Guanzhong Plain and is the capital of Shaanxi province, 1165 km from Beijing and 1510 km from Shanghai.
Known as Chang’an in antiquity, the Xi’an has played an important role in the history of China and is a vital birthplace of the history and culture of the Chinese nation. Since ancient times, Xi’an has also been an international metropolis. As Xi’an was the eastern departure point of the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected China with the Mediterranean, it has long been a significant crossroads for people from throughout China, Central Asia, and the Middle East to trade, and was also a hub of diverse ethnic identities and religious beliefs. Xi’an is the oldest Chinese city, and it has a history of more than 3,100 years as a city and 1,100 years as a capital. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital of 13 dynasties and a total of 73 emperors ruled here, and many ancient structures are preserved. The most famous for its Terracotta Warriors, built by the subjects of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, and had become an international symbol of China’s history.
There are many tourist attractions in Xi’an, except for the most famous Terracotta Warriors, if you are interested in ancient Chinese architecture, you can go to the city center to see the Bell Tower. The Bell Tower of Xi’an, built-in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, is a symbol of the city and one of the grandest of its kind in China. If you are interested in the history of Xi’an, you can visit the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, which displays the most precious cultural relics found in Xi’an during its 3000-year history. As Xi’an is a city where different cultures and religions meet, you can find many religious monuments, such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the two most famous Buddhist pagodas in Xi’an. Not far from the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, it is the most famous Muslim Quarter of Xi’an, and you can see the magnificent Grand Mosque, stroll in the night market, and taste the Islamic-style local specialties. After dinner, a walk on the ancient city wall will give your Xi’an tour a unique experience. The ancient city wall of Xi’an is one of the best-preserved city walls in China, and if you are interested, you can even rent bicycles for a ride on the city wall. If you want to explore more around Xi’an, Huashan Mountain is a good choice, which is one of the most famous five cultural mountains and a famous Taoist mountain.
The most popular items to buy in Xi’an are reproduction Terracotta Army figurines, and they can be found all over the city at very reasonable prices. You can visit a craft workshop for sculpting soldiers because it would be a memorable experience to see the real sculpture of the soldiers made by Chinese craftsmen a few hundred years ago. After the visit, you can buy a book on terracotta as well as some figurines.
Area: 1066 km²
Average annual temperature: 13 degrees
Geography: Located on the central loess basin
Population: 12,952,900 inhabitants. (2021)
Nationality: Mainly populated by Han, the Muslim community (Hui) is also well established in the province.
Economy: Industry, tourism, agriculture
How to get to Xi’an?
Xi’an has the eighth largest airport in China, the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. It is also the largest and most important international airport in Northwest China, with many international flights to different countries every day, such as Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Lisbon, Helsinki, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, etc. All in all, Xi’an is a big international city that foreigners can easily reach.
If you are already in China, you can fly to Xi’an from almost any major city, such as a flight from Beijing or Shanghai. From Beijing to Xi’an, flights take 2 hours 10 minutes, and from Shanghai, flights take 2 hours 30 minutes on average. But if the distance is right, we recommend that you take the high-speed train. High-speed trains are among the best choices to travel between Beijing and Xi’an with over 15 pairs of trains operating daily, and the fastest one-way running time is 4.5 hours. If you want to experience train travel slowly, you can choose to take a night train, but the travel time is at least ten hours or more.
When to go to Xi’an?
Xi’an is a typical city with four distinct seasons. The best times to visit Xi’an are April, May, September, and October. At this time, the weather is mild without too much rain. It is very hot there in summer and has some heavy rainfalls. The highest temperature can reach 38 degrees, and the heat can be overwhelming. It is still possible to visit Xi’an between December and February. In winter, the climate is cold and dry in this region. It snows a lot, and the temperatures drop below zero degrees. Warm clothes are therefore essential.
The dominant flavors of food in Xi’an and the surrounding regions of Shaanxi province are known for their “spicy and sour” and “fragrantly spicy” taste profiles. The following Xi’an 10 famous foods are not to be missed when you come to Xi’an: Flatbread in mutton soup (Yangrou Paomo), Kabob (Kaochuan’er), Pomegranate juice (Shiliuzhi), Xi’an meat burger (Roujiamo), Cold noodles (Liangpi), Steamed beef and wheat powder (Fenzhengrou), Hot and sour soup dumpling (Suantang Shuijiao), Biangbiang noodles.
Especially recommend Roujiamo and Biangbiang noodles. Roujiamo it’s like a hamburger, but with a much longer history. There are just two critical elements for a Roujiamo — baked leavened bread and shredded braised meat. A good Jiamo should be baked using a traditional furnace instead of an electric oven. And Biang Biang noodles refer to wheat flour noodles that are hand-pulled to a long, thick, and broad shape (can be as wide as a belt). A little knowledge: Biang’s Chinese characters are very complex and considered by most Chinese to be one of the hardest, so even Chinese people often use pinyin instead when writing this word.
Xi’an has a huge quantity of precious relics and historical sites, some dating back to its times as the capital, and more than 4,000 historical sites and tombs have been excavated.
The Zhou Dynasty
Xian’s history began in the Stone Age, 3,000 years ago, when the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC-771 BC) founded its capital at Haojing, today’s Xi’an. The Western Zhou Dynasty was famous for its bronze, some of which are now displayed in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. Barbarian invaders caused the collapse of the Western Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC.
The Qin Dynasty and the Han Dynasty
In 221 BC, Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the country and built a strong feudal society, with its capital at Xianyang, just north of Xi’an. The Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC) was soon sacked and the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) took power. The Han rulers based their government on Xi’an. The Han Dynasty ruled Xi’an from 202 BC to 220 AD, during which time the city began to flourish. Xi’an was the starting point of the world’s longest overland ancient trading route, the Silk Road, which was a highly significant trade route linking ancient China with Central Asia and European countries.
The Tang Dynasty
However, it was not until the Tang Dynasty (618–907) that Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) became internationally known. Chang’an was one of the biggest international cities at that time, a great metropolis of equal importance with Rome in its heyday. The Tang Dynasty witnessed advances in many fields, and the capital city boomed. It was built with grand, symmetrical layouts and became a model for city design at that time.
After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, Xi’an went into decline and its tenure as the capital of China came to an end. Although Xi’an still played an important role as a commercial center on the Silk Road in the later dynasties, it never regained its previous political or cultural importance.
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