Xi’an was called Chang’an in ancient time. Historians acclaim Chang’an together with Athens of Greece, Rome of Italy and Istanbul of Turkey as the four capitals of ancient civilization of the world. Chang’an served as the capital of 11 dynasties in history. From here 73 emperors ruled over China for a aggregate time of 1,100 years. It was from Chang’an in 139 B. C. that Zhang Qian set out on his westward long journey that opened the Silk Road. Chang’an subsequently became a juncture where East and West met and grew into the most flourishing capital in the Orient during the Han and Tang dynasties. The importance and prosperity of this ancient capital there left behind a wealth of valuable historical sites. However it is more than those tombs, monasteries and temples of the emperors and the Qin emperor’s Terra-cotta soldiers and generals. The vicinity of Xi’an has sites of maternal clan societies of some 6,000 years ago-an indication of the profundity of the long Chinese civilization.
Main attractions in Xi’an
The terracotta warrior
Emperor Qin was the first king of whole China. The Terra-cotta Museum is not only a treasure house where the tourists can learn history, culture and human civilization, but also a main scenic spot of Xi’an city. It can receive about 1.5 million tourists annually. Approximately 40 million visitors from home and abroad have visited the Museum within the last 20 years. Today "the eighth Wonder of the world" has almost become synonym of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses In 1987, the Emperor Qin’s Mausoleum was put on the list of the UNESCO as a world-class cultural heritage site. Now the Museum is well-known widely as a huge modern on-site museum and it is going to be one of the best in the world.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Situated inside Ci’an(Thanks-giving)Temple, four kilometers south of Xi’an City, is one of the famous Buddhist pagodas in China. Sponsored by Tang Emperor Gaozong, the temple was first built in652 during the Tang dynasty as a symbol of thanksgiving to his mother for her kindness who had suffered an early death. Xuan Zang ,a famous Tang monk, made a proposal to the court for a pagoda, named the Big Wild Goose Pagoda was first erected in the past centuries. Legend related that one day a group of big wild geese flew over, suddenly one of them dropped from the sky and died on the ground. Monks were at a loss and did not know what to do They said that the dead wild goose was a Buddha. They buried the goose and a pagoda was erected, hence the name, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
The City Wall of the Ming Dynasty
The City Walls were built in the period 1374 to 1378.They were placed on the Foundation of the wall around the Tang Dynasty. Since the location of Xi’an gives it strategic military importance, the Walls are very tall and were fortified. Much of the magnificent 600-odd-year-old wall is still standing and it is one of the best examples in China of an outstanding traditional city defense system and urban design.
Shaanxi History Museum
Shaanxi History Museum, which located in the northwest of the Dayan Pagoda of ancient city Xi’an, is the first huge state museum with modern facilities in China, and given the reputation of "bright pearl of ancient city, treasure house of China." As the imperial capital since ancient times, more than 13 feudal dynasties built their capitals there in history including Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang. The province is rich in cultural relics. With the completion of Shaanxi History Museum, it collected over 370,000 precious relics which were unearthed in Shaanxi Province, large quantities, full categories, high grade. The bronze wares, pottery figures, and mural paintings in Tang tombs and so on, are all wonderful artistic treasures.
The Xi’an Forest of Calligraphy Museum
Establish in 1900 during the Northern Song Dynasty, the Calligraphy Forest in Xi’an is known world wide for a fine collection of more than 1000 inscribed stone monuments engraved during the period from the Han to the Qing dynasties for more than 2000 years.
The Calligraphy Forest in Xi’an is not only a treasure house of Chinese ancient Calligraphy, but also a rich collection of China’s historical documents and records and stone carving patterns. These steles record a part of the great achievements of the Chinese culture and a testimony to the cultural exchanges between China and other parts of the world.
Mount Huashan is located in the eastern part of Shanxi Province belonging to the eastern section of Mount Qinling. Seen from a distance, it looks like a flower, hence the name Mount Hua. Its peak is Mount Taihua, known in the ancient times as the Western Mountain in Shanxi Province at an elevation of 2160 meters.
For religious believers, the Famen Temple,110 kilometers west of Xi’an, is a sacred site. Built in the Eastern Han Dynasty, the temple is famous for housing the Buddhist relics of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism. Xi’an witnessed its golden age in development in the Tang Dynasty, when it was the largest city in the Orient and the staring point of the Silk Road,Connecting Asia with Europe.
Huaqing Hot Spring
Huaqing Hot spring is situated about 25 kilometers away in the northeast of Xi’an. It used to be a former winter resort for emperors. Its natural beauty and many historical episodes connected with this spot are the attractions. The place did not gain national fame until747, when Emperor Xuan Zong of the Tang Dynasty extended the palaces and built Huaqing Hot Pool, Using water from the natural hot spring, hence the name Huaqing Hot spring.
The Great Mosque
During the prosperous Tang Dynasty large number of Moslems traveled the world-famous Silk Road to Chang’an bringing Islam to China. With the support of the Tang emperor Xuanzong, they established the Great Mosque in 742.It is a well-preserved example of cultural merging, having been renovated several times and preserved by the Chinese Government. The Mosque exhibits the signification of overseas architecure. From the carving and furniture inside to the eaved pagoda for the minaret, Chinese influence is apparent.
Climate in Xi'an
The hottest and most unpleasant month is June, with an average temperature of 26 degrees C. The summers here can also be very dry so make sure you have plenty of drinking water with you when you go sightseeing!! The average temperature for the year is 13 degrees C.