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XIAN

Xi'an, as the provincial capital, was called Chang'an in ancient times and was one of the most important cradles of Chinese civilization. The famous "Silk Road" that linked China with central Asia and the Roman Empire started in Xi'an. The city was also served as the first capital of a unified China and capital of 11 dynasties periodically from the 11th century BC to the early 10th century AD.
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Back in the Neolithic Age, about 6,000 years ago, a matriarchal clan was formed at Banpo village near the present city of Xian. Thousands of years later, in 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of Qin dynasty, unified China and set about expanding the settlement in Xianyang about 15 miles northwest of the city. In 583 AD, the Sui emperor Wen Di, established his capital southeast of Changan. The area flourished and developed so quickly later under the Tang Dynasty that in time it became the most prominent city in Asia, with a population of about a million people living in a vast, well-planned area protected by large walls with ramparts.
For over a millennium from the Second Century BC, China's silk was transported from Xi'an to the central Asian and European countries. With a population of over 6 million at present, Xian still holds the important position of world famed historical site and one of the most popular tourist cities in China.

Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses


In March 1974, villagers of the Xiyang Village, while digging wells, found by chance the Terra Cotta Figures near Emperor Qinshihuang's Tomb made up of Soldiers and Horses that were buried in the Yanzhai Village in Lintong County. The archeologists later named them respectively No.1 Delve Pit, No.2 Delve Pit and No.3 Delve Pit according to the time when they were founded. The total acreage of delves is 22,780 square meters. It was found in the first pit with 210 tomb figures in military suits, arrayed as in the actual combat formation, and the second one with more than 100 pottery tomb figures and some 500 horses together with carriages were unearthed, while in the third one, only 4 horses and 1 carriage and 568 pottery tomb figures were excavated. Finely made and nicely sculpted, Qinshihuang's tomb figures are high and big in life size with an estimated number of 6000. The Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses was later built right on top of the excavation site which has now become one of the 10 most famous tourist attractions in China, and has been announced as the world cultural heritage by UNESCO.

The bronze carriage and horse

The bronze carriages and horses were made exactly according to the original images. The only difference is that their dimensions are only about one half of the real ones. The bronze carriage and horses are composed of 3400 parts. The carriage is 3.17 meter long, 1.06 meter high, and the horse is 67 centimeters high, 1.2 meters long, and the total weight of the carriage and the horse are 1243 kilograms. Its main body is made of bronze, while much gold and silver are used for the decorations on the carriage and the horse, which makes a total weight of 7 kilograms. As the biggest archeological bronze work ever found in the world in such early dynasty, the carriage and horses are really the best treasures of fine art among all others.

Shaanxi Provincial Museum

The Shaanxi Historical Museum, a large-scale modern museum about 1 kilometer northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, was open in June 1991, covering almost 50,000 square meters for indoor exhibition. The museum is of primitive simplicity and elegance with a unique designing style. With 113, 000 unearthed cultural relics on display, the museum is divided into 7 parts for exhibition such as the prehistoric age, the Zhou Dynasty, the Qin, Han, Wei, Sui and Tang Dynasties, the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, and showed the history of Shaanxi Province from the primitive age up to 1840.

City Wall

Xi'an boasts the only city wall to remain intact to this day in China. Built during the early Ming dynasty on the basis of the Tang imperial city of Chang'an, and laid out with a rectangular plan of 13.7 km in circumference, the wall stands 12 meters high, 14 meters wide at the top and 18 meters wide for the basement. A total of 5,894 crenels are built along the outer edge of the wall, with each of its four corners topped by a turret, and a main gate is built in each side of the wall. The City Wall had been restored on large scale in recent year, and the top of the wall had been converted into a promenade, so that visitors can take a stroll while glimpsing on the scenery of Xian and musing upon the history of this ancient city.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, about 64 meters high with 7 stories and situated in the Da Ci'en Temple of 4 km south of the city center, is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. Originally built in 589 A.D. in the Sui dynasty, and then rebuilt in 652 AD and 704 A.D. during the Tang dynasty by order of the emperor, the Pagoda was used to store and translate the Buddhist sutra taken from India by the legendary monk Rabbi Xuanzang, who was then considered as the first one introducing Buddhism into China.
Pictures of the Heavenly King and Buddha are on the doorframe horizontal bars on four sides of the pagoda's base. These stone sculptures showed the best workmanship in history. Inside the temple where the pagoda is situated, there are two small buildings: the one on the east side houses a bell, and a drum on the west side. Inside the Great Hall of the Buddha, there are three incarnations of Sakyamuni. The one in the middle is called Dharmakaya, the west side one is called Bao Shen Buddha, and the one opposite is called Ying Shen Buddha.
In the Tang dynasty, every successful candidate who had passed the imperial examinations would have to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and wrote poems and inscriptions there for the hope to be higher ranked in their administrative positions in the future. Today, it has been the most famous scenic spot in Xian for all the tourists.

Bell Tower

Known as the symbol of Xi'an, the history of the Bell Tower can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty. Each Ming city had a bell tower and a drum tower. The bell was sounded at dawn and the drum at dusk. The Bell Tower has a square-shaped brick platform, each side of which is 35 meters long and 8.6 meters high and on the top is a two-storied wooden structure with carved beams and color-painted rafters, a further 27.4 meters high. Colorful Dougong -- a unique Chinese architecture of brackets inserted on the top of columns and crossbeams strengthen the building and enhance the artistic style. The design of this kind is also perceptible from the engravings on bronzes dating back to the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.). The inside is a remarkable example of the very intricate roof truss system used in Ming and Qing wooden architecture. In a corner of the brick platform is a Ming-period bell. On fine day, you may take on a panoramic view of the city from the parapet on the second floor.

The Drum Tower

The Drum Tower is on the northern side of the western street in the city. It was built in 1380 and were rebuilt in 1699 and in 1740. It's named as the Drum Tower because of the big drum placed on the tower, which was hit at dusk everyday for giving the correct time. The Drum Tower is 33 meters high, 52.6 meters wide with two-floors, and its structure is straight up like a pole, with double eaves and unique roof. The drum sounds sonorous and heavy, which can be heard from 5 km away if it is beat heavily. And this drum has been recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

The Banpo Museum

The Banpo Museum of Xi'an is the first site of prehistoric museum in China, which is situated on the east bank of the Chan River in the east district of Xi'an. About 6000 years ago, it was the typical site where the enatic tribes met in the drainage area of the Yellow River.
The Banpo village was found in 1953, and the museum was completed in 1957 on the site of the archeological diggings, which covers almost 50,000 square meters and is divided into several parts respectively for the exhibition of the ancient tribes with inhabitancy, ceramics and graves. On display, there are relics of 46 room, 2 folds, over 2000 vaults and about 250 graves as well as some pottery wares and farming tools. In addition, there are still many artworks of colored pottery that showed the prehistoric civilization in the drainage of the Yellow River.

Huaqing Hot Spring Palace

The Tang emperor, Xuanzong, had Huaqing Palace built by the hot springs at the foot of Lishan Mountain in Lintong County, so that he could frolic with his favored Imperial Lady Yang to his heart's content. Today, the hot spring facilities have attracted a constant stream of visitors who come both to catch a piece of history and enjoy the nice scenery in the park.

Forest of Steles

The Forest of Steles was first founded in 1090 during the Song Dynasty. It is the oldest and richest collection of steles in China. The steles are in such large quantity that they are likened to a forest, hence the name. The forest consists of six large exhibition halls, seven corridors and a stele pavilion. There are more than 1,000 steles from eight dynasties from the Han down to the Qing. They are of great value to historians and for the study of calligraphic development.

 

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