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Xian, the eternal city, records the great changes of the Chinese nation just like a living history book. Called Chang’an in ancient times, Xian is one of the birthplaces of the ancient civilization in the Yellow River Basin area of the country. During Xian’s 3,100 year development, 13 dynasties such as Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang placed their capitals here. So far, Xian enjoys equal fame with Athens, Cairo, and Rome as one of the four major ancient civilization capitals.


Xian is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the southern part of the GuanZhong Plain. With the Qinling Mountains to the north and the Weihe River to the south, it is in a favorable geographical location surrounded by water and hills. It has a semi-moist monsoon climate and there is a clear distinction between the four seasons.


This extremely famous city, the capital of 11 dynasties, is filled with historical significance. Two-thousand years ago, Chinese and foreign merchants transported silk to Persia and Rome via Xian, Persia and Rome via Xian, thereby opening a long route, called the Silk Road, linking the East to the West. Today, it is one of the most important cradles of ancient Chinese civilization. Widely acclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world, the Army of Terracotta Warriors is a guard that comprises 6,000 life-size pottery soldiers and horses buried with the dead emperor Qin Shihuang. Standing row after row in battle formation, some of the terra cotta warriors all vividly sculpted, are standing, while some are on horseback and others are carrying bows and arrows. Continuous archeological discoveries testify almost every day the historical and cultural importance of Xian area.


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Terra-Cotta Warriors & Horses

The museum is located in Lintong District, 35 kilometers away from the urban area. In March, 1974 when several farmers were sinking a well, they came upon many fragments of terra-cotta figures. The results of archaeological excavation showed that it was an oblong pits with terra-cotta warriors and horses. Again in 1976, two pits were discovered 20meters and 25meters north of the former one respectively. They were named pit1, pit2, and pit3 by order of discovery. The three pits cover a total area of 22,780 square meters. The museum of first Qin emperor, one of the top ten places of historical interest in China, was listed as the world heritage by the UNESCO about a decade ago.


Pit 1 takes an oblong shape. It is 230 meters long, 62 meters wide and 5meters deep, it covers an area of 14,260 square meters. The terra-cotta warriors’ horse in pit 1 are arrayed in battle formation .According to the density of the formation in each trial, it is assumed that more than 6,000 terra-cotta warriors and horses could be unearthed from pit 1, most of which are infantrymen.


Pit 2 is measured 6,000square meters ,L-shaped and consists of four different mixed military forces in four array as .It is estimated that there are over 1,000 terra-cotta figure , 500horse-drawn chariots and saddled horses.


Pit 3 is concave shape, totaling about 520square meters .One chariot, four terra-cotta horses and 68 clay armored warriors were unearthed from it. Unearthed in this pit were a remaining deer-horn and animal bones .This is probably the place where sacrificial offerings and war prayer were praised. Judging by the layout of pit 3, this is most likely the headquarters directing the mighty underground army.


Qianling Mausoleum

Qianling Mausoleum is joint tomb of Gao Zong (Li Zhi, 628-683A.D), the third emperor of Tang Dynasty and his empress Wu Zetian (624-705A.D). Wu Zetian was only empress in Chinese history .The mausoleum lies on Liangshan Hill ,6 kilometers north of Qianxian county ,and about 80kilometers northwest of Xi'an. It was built in 682A.D, and brought into completion 32years later .It is located on Liangshan Hill, 1,047 meters above sea level .On both sides of the sacred way in front of the tomb, 124 exquisite and lively stone statues are lined up from north to south.


They include a pair of octagonal cloud pillars ,a pair of winged horses, a pair of scarlet birds ,five pairs of stone horses ,and ten pairs of guarding generals with helmets on their heads and swords in their hands .In addtion ,outside the south gate there are two tablets: the Tablets to the Holy Deeds of Emperor GaoZong and the worldless Tablet to Wu Zetian .there are also 61 stone statues representing the heads of the ethnic minority groups and envoys from friendly countries who came to attend Emperor GaoZong's funeral.


The Forest of steles

The Forest of Steles has the best steles of ancient dynasties of this province and is a treasure house of the Chinese calligraphic art. The Forest of Steles founded in 1090 A.D. (fifth year of Yuanyou of the Northern Song Dynasty) houses over 2300 steles of the Han, Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The well known steles of many dynasties includes "the Stele of Caoquan" of the Han, "the Stele of Si Mafang" of the Jing,"the Stele of the Canons of Filial Piety on Stone Terraces","the Stele of the Stone Classics of Kaichen" and "the Popular Stele of Daqin Nestorianism" of the Tang. Exhibited here are also stone tablets on which are engraved the handwritings of such Tang calligraphic masters as Ouyang Xun, Chu Suiliang, Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gongquan.


City Wall

The city wall of Xi’an is an extension of the old Tang Dynasty structure. The city wall, after its extension in Ming Dynasty, stands 12meters high, it is12-14 meters wide on the top, 15-18meters thick at the bottom and 13kilometers in length. The city wall was first built of earth, rammed layer upon layer. The base layer was made of earth, quicklime, and glutinous rice extract, tempered together. It made the wall strong and firm. Thus, the Ming Dynasty city wall formed a complex and well-organized system of defense. It is also the most complete city wall that has survived through China's long history. The city wall itself is a true display of ability and wisdom of the working people in ancient times. It provides invaluable and substantial material for study of the history, military science, and architecture of the Ming Dynasty.


Big Wild Goose Pagoda 

Situated in Da Ci'en Temple, about 4kilometers from the urban center, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the famous Buddhist pagodas in China. Originally built in 589 A. Din the Sui Dynasty ,the temple was named Wulou temple .In 648A.D, Emperor Li Zhi , then still a crown prince ,sponsored a repair project on the temple in memory of his mother ,Empress Wende .It then assumed the present name Da Ci'en Temple (the Temple of Thanksgiving ). The temple consisted of 1,879 magnificent rooms and was a place of grand extent in tang dynasty.


The Tang Regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures and appointed the widely renowned Master Xuan Zang (Monk Tripitaka) the head of temple. Xuan Zang was both a great translator and traveler .He spent 17 years doing research into Buddhism in Indian, he returned to Chaang'an in 645A.D with 657 volumes of Buddhist scriptures.Xuan Zang stayed in temple for 12 years and translated 1,335 volumes of Buddhist scriptures. In Tang Dynasty, every successful candidate who passed the imperial examination would climb up the pagoda and write poems and inscriptions to indicate that he would have soaring career in the future.


Small Wild Goose Pagoda 

The Pagoda was originally situated within the premises of the Felicity Temple in the Anren Block in Chang'an city of the Tang Dynasty. The Temple was founded in 684 A.D. (first year of Wenming of the Tang Emperor Ruizong), 100 days after the Emperor Gaozong's death, by the royal family and the aristocracy in order to "offer happiness" to the Emperor.


The Pagoda was constructed in 707 (first year of Jinglong of the Tang Emperor Zhongzong Li Xian). The pagoda is a square brick construction, 45 meters high with 15 tiers. It is uniquely and delicately shaped, with a rhythmic series of projecting eaves. Above the arched doorways on the first tier are Tang engravings of ivy designs and Buddhist figures. Small wild goose pagoda Attraction Bamboo site Feng and Hao sites Qin Mausoleum Weiyang Palace (Han) Daming Palace (Tang) Zhaoling Mausoleum Qianling Mausoleum Big wild goose pagoda The Caotang Temple The Daxingshan Temple The Qinglong Temple The Xingjiao Temple The Xiangji Temple The great Mosque Shaanxi provincial museum Forest of steles The bell tower The drum tower The huaqing pool Mt.Huashan Xi'an city wall.


Bell & Drum Tower 

The Bell Tower is a classical building with carved beams and painted rafters .It stands in the center of the downtown area .It houses a bell which was originally used to strike time every morning in ancient times. Ever since its establishment, it has become the symbol of Xi’an. The Bell Tower was first built in YingXiang Temple in 1384,which used to mark the center of city .It was moved to its present site in 1582 as a result of the city's expansion program.


About 500meters northwest of the Bell Tower stands another magnificent building, the Drum Tower .It was built in 1380, four years earlier than the Bell Tower .There used to a huge drum in the tower which told the time at the dusk. The base of Drum Tower is 1,924square meters in size, and 34meters high. The bell in the Bell Tower and the drum in the Drum Tower have been referred to as "the Morning Bell" and "the Dusk Drum".


History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum is a sizable national museum with a wide range of modern facilities .The entire building complex assumes the architectural features of Tang Dynasty. It covers an area of 70,000 square meters, with a floor space of over 50,000 square meters .It houses the culture heritage of Shaanxi Province and shows the development of Chinese civilization .The state government invested 144 million yuan in establishment of Shaanxi History Museum. It was completed and opens to public in June, 1991.


The museum shows a great deal of elegance and originally in style .It assumes the architectural features of ancient Chinese palaces and courtyards. It houses 113,000historical and cultural artifacts unearthed in Shaanxi .Its exhibition halls cover an area of 1,100 square meters. The museum displays the historic artifacts excavated in province. The exhibition may be divided in to seven major sections :the Prehistoric Age, the Zhou, the Qin ,the Han ,the Wei , the Jin , the North, the South , the Sui ,the Tang ,the Song , the Yuan , the Ming ,and the Qing.


All the exhibitions vividly and systematically depict the history of Shaanxi Province, ranging from 1,150,000 years ago to the year 1840.Back in history, 11 dynasty established their capitals in Shaanxi Province, with a duration of more than 1,000 years .This area was established as the national capital by more dynasties and for longer periods than any other place in China. In a way the ancient history of Shaanxi is microcosm of Chinese history.


Huaqing Hot Springs 

Huaqing Hot Springs. The hot springs are located 16 miles east of Xian at the foot of Mount Lishan in a large park where there are a number of public baths and some modern palaces built in the Tang style. The hot springs, rich in minerals, were highly regarded more than 3000 years ago. The Tang Emperor Xuanzong often spent the winter here in the company of his favorite concubine, Yang Guifei. Shortly afterwards, however, all the buildings were destroyed by war. The new baths constructed in 1956 include one called the Bath of Yang Guifei (Guifei - Honorable Concubine).