The cultural center of China surely rests in Xian. Known as Chang'an or "Eternal Peace" in ancient times, Xian is truly an eternal city. Over 1,000 years it was the capital of thirteen ancient dynasties and is home of some of the most ancient and beautiful temples in the nation. There are remains nearby of a Neolithic settlement at the Banpo village ruins attesting to Xian's long history. Xian's Golden Age in the Tang dynasty flourished while Europe entered the middle ages. Xian is most famous for its standing army of terracotta warriors, on the top of any visitor's list.
Set amidst a landscape of mountains, rivers and hot springs, this treasure trove of history was the Eastern starting point of the Silk Road. Xian still has a lively Muslim quarter with one of the oldest and largest mosques in China. Even the food is a tempting blend of Far Eastern and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Xian boasts over 4.000 historical sites. The city walls were built forty feet high and several miles are still intact, affording fantastic views of the city and surrounding areas. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda has long been the symbol of Xian. Build in 652 using bricks without any mortar. Visitors can climb the internal stairs to view the city from the arched doorways on the various levels. Other ancient structures include the beautiful Drum and Bell Towers. The Bell Tower is the geographical center of the town and was once used to keep time and the Drum Tower to mark the hour of dusk. There are bronze bells and stone chimes that musicians still play. Behind the Drum Tower you will find the night market filled with vendors, peddlers and food stalls. The Academy Gate leads to a street filled with authentic replicas of buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore exquisite art and traditional handicrafts, jade carving, silk fans, regional tri-color glazed ceramics, bronze replicas and silk embroidery
The Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses museum displays one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. Now combined into a larger area encompassing the Emperor Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed; many restored and put on display. These warriors are thought to have been created to accompany the emperor into the next life. They are artistically life-like, wrought with care and attention to individual details. The Terracotta warriors are a highlight of any trip to Xian and to China.
As the old saying goes "If you haven't been to Xian, you haven't been to China". Silk Road Treasure Tours can get you there.