Xian the City | China | Xian | Tourism | Guide| What to do
Welcome To City of Terracotta Army – Xi’an
Referred as Chang’an in the ancient world, Xi’an carries the history of 3,000 years ago. It remained the capital for 13 dynasties for 1,000 years. The city was commanded by a total of 73 emperors. Hence, Xi’an is undoubtedly the origin of the Chinese civilization and culture. Having served as the capital for the Han, Tang, Qin, and Zhou dynasties, it is no wonder that it offers a massive record of historical data in the form of cultural relics, museums, monuments and ruins.
Today, the modern city of Xi’an reflects the Imperial Capital image. With massive boulevards traversing immaculately at monument-laden traffic circles, and block-wide buildings with ornate Chinese-style roofs aligning neatly at the sides of the streets. The remarkable city with bustling traffic indicates the city is the epicentre of Chinese culture and life.
Xi’an, in 2011.
However, a closer inspection of the city reveals another story. In contrast to the tastefully designed hotels, restaurants and shopping complexes, tattered and crumbling skyscrapers define the Old City, and the back streets are not glamorous, be wary of beggars as they are predominantly aggressive.
The word “Xi” in Mandarin means “West”. And “An” is peace. Xi’an is the “Peace of the West”.
The world’s largest city wall, the City Wall of Xi’an is wide enough to easily handle 5 bikes travelling across its surface. You can hire and ride a bike atop the East or South gate. If you desire to travel across the wall by your humble feet, expect 4-5 hours walk. Interestingly, the breathtaking landscaped park constructed at the base of the exterior walls and trench serves an area for a pleasant stroll. The Hanguang Gate houses a tiny museum and is easily accessible from the top of the city wall. You can view the stupendous ancient calligraphy collection. It was built during the rule of the powerful Ming dynasty and was constructed on the foundation of the Imperial city wall of theTang dynasty.
One public park of Xian.
Shaanxi Provincial Museum offers visitors a large collection of local artefacts, spanning the province’s history from Neolithic Age to the Qing dynasty. It displays the fabulously conserved pottery from adjacent Banpo village of the Neolithic times. Several bronze artefacts, weapons and other exhibits from the Shang Dynasty are displayed here. To avail one of the 1000 free tickets, arrive early.
Forest of Steles is a collection of 2,300 stone tablets and epitaphs. It includes the renowned Nestorian Stele of the 7th century. It portrays the introduction of Nestorian Christianity to China.
Wolong Temple is an active Buddhist temple that dates back to 200BC. The temple has been recently restored and is always eventful and vibrant.
Big Goose Pagoda is the emblem of the Xi’an city. Built by Emperor Gaozong in 652AD, it showcases pleasant parks, eateries and hosts charming water and music show during the day.
Drum Tower in Xian.
Little Goose Pagoda was completed in 709AD. To visit then temple you must purchase a joint ticket with the nearby Xi’an Museum.
Little Goose Pagoda.
Bell Towers is located at the epicentre of the city. Drum Tower is erected on the northwest inside the Muslim Quarter.
Bell Tower, Xian.
Busy Muslim Street Grand Mosque is a perfect mix of Islamic and Chinese architecture styles and seats 1,000 worshipers. Its popularity lies in the fact that it was the foremost mosque built in China. Only Muslims are permitted inside the mosque, yet there is plenty to admire in the adjacent courtyards. Women must cover their heads according to the Islamic traditions and law.
Eight Immortals Temple is a lively Daoist temple built in honour of the renowned Eight Immortals, inclusive of Eight Immortals Bridge. The temple offers numerous Steles and manifold halls for worshippers.
Travelling to Xi’an:
You arrive at the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. It is located at a distance of 40 km from the city’s centre. Xi’an is the belly of China, and therefore it takes only 2 hours to reach the major Chinese cities by air.
The city of Xi’an is well-connected with chief Chinese cities by a robust system of rail network. The train tickets are only available if you have booked your dates in advance, about a month ago. You will share your compartment space with several locals.
Travelling to Xi’an in a cost-effective way is the public bus, yet the journey may not be comfortable. The bus station is erected across the main railway station.