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Xian Introduction

It is said that China is a huge towering tree. One can see the crown of the tree in Beijing but its deep hidden roots in Xian. As one of the four ancient civilized capital cities in the world, Xian is synonymous with Athens, Rome and Cairo. It is no exaggeration to say that the thousand years of the rise and fall of Chinese nation is all inscribed in Xian.

Terra Cotta Army, XianBeing the capital of Shaanxi Province, the city is situated in the middle part of the Yellow River drainage area - Guanzhong Plain (also called Weihe Plain), the largest branch of Yellow River, Weihe River to the north and the vertical division of China, Qinling Mountain to the south. It covers an area of nearly 10 thousand sq km (2.5 million acres), with a population of about 7.4 million people, consisting of 50 nationalities like Han, Hui, Manchu and Mongol, amongst others. It has a warm temperate semi-humid monsoon climate. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Xian, if not all year round.

It is one of the earliest and most important cradles of Chinese culture. Our ape men ancestors had lived here in the early Prehistoric Times (1.7 million years ago - 21st century BC). The remains of the Banpo Village are a typical indication of the prospering matriarchal community during that period. Following that, as many as 13 dynasties had established their capital here, which lasted longer than 1,100 years in all. The city had lived through its extremely peak time during the powerful dynasties of Zhou (11th Century BC - 221 BC), Qin (221 BC - 206 BC), Han (206 BC - 220 AD) and Tang (618 - 907). It had been the political, economic and cultural centre of China. Even after the opening of the Silk Road, Xian, as the starting point, was also the centre of communication with foreign countries.


Perhaps it is better to learn the deep cultures and long history of Xian from the reserved relics in the city, which is reputed as the 'Natural Historical Museum'. From every point of view, the historical and cultural relics in Xian make it rank 'first' in the world. The magnificent Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is called 'the Eighth Wonder of the World'. Along with the nearby Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, it is the first Chinese relics listed in the World Heritage Directory. These two are the remains of Qinshihuang, the founder of the Qin Dynasty. He was a great man who united the whole of China but a tyrant who caused many tragedies.

Xian City Wall, Shaanxi


The painted nude figures on pottery discovered in the Hanyangling Museum (Mausoleum of Western Han Emperor Liu Qi), called 'Oriental Venus', caused another shock to the world. And the City Wall of Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) is the largest and most complete ancient city wall in the world.


One can also learn the history of Xian from some museums, the famous being the prolific Shaanxi History Museum and Forest of Stone Steles Museum . The latter is reputedly referred to as the 'Stone Historical Stack Room' for the thousands of ancient steles. There is also the mix pot of many religions like Buddhism, Islam, Taoism and Christianity. Many places of worship like the Great Mosque, Daxingshan Temple and Temple of Flourishing Teaching (Xingjiao Si) are well-trodden spots for tourists of all background.

In addition, go beyond Xian and you will learn something different of Chinese history. Maoling Mausoleum, Zhaoling and Qian Mausoleum are excellent learning grounds for some outstanding Chinese emperors. Xianyang Museum, located in the former capital of Qin Dynasty, Xianyang, also possesses a large collection. The majestic Famen Temple, where the finger sarira of Sakyamuni Buddha is stored, is also a resort for visitors.

Bell Tower, Xian Attraction

Last but not at all the least, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Bell and Drum Tower, land mark buildings of Xian, are also the must-see for visitors. Huaqing Hot Springs, the former bathing pools of the pal mary Emperor Xuanzong (685 - 762) and his Concubine Yang during the Tang Dynasty, has become a good spot for sightseeing and bathing for tourists. Xian also has some verdant mountains in the surrounding that add much natural and spiritual beauty to the city. Mt. Huashan, one of the Five Sacred Mountains in China and quite often used to be worshipped by ancient emperors, is now a spot that few travelers miss.
Xian Attractions & Travel Tips
How to get to/around Xian

Recommended China Tour with Xian

  • 3 Days Xian Tour

    Luxury tour to visit Terracotta Worriors and Horses Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian City Wall, Shaanxi Provincial History Museum and the Great Mosque

  • 4 Days Xian Tour

    Visit Hanyangling Museum, Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Qianling Museum, Famen Temple, Maoling Mausoleum and Great Mosque

  • 11 Days China Tour

    Small group tour to visit Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Yangtze River, Yichang and Shanghai

In case travelers are interested in visiting Xian in one day, we sincerely recommend you to choose a one-day tour with favorable China Tour Reviews of Xian One-Day Trip on Tripadvisor.