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Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China and has a history of more than 3,000 years. Due to its abundance of historically significant artifacts and cultural heritage, Xi’an is one of the world’s most important historical attractions and perhaps the best place to look into China’s past. You will never have enough to do in Xian, which was the historical capital of 13 Chinese dynasties. The ancient Chinese built the Terracotta Warriors, the ancient city wall, and other historical and cultural treasures for millennia. As you wander through this ancient city, you’ll feel like you’re flipping through the pages of a Chinese history book. There are several outstanding natural attractions in the vicinity of Xian, such as Mount Hua, which offers an even more spectacular view of the ancient city.
This fascinating region, which served as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, offers visitors historical treasures, a fascinating cultural mix of Islam, Buddhism and atheism, and some of the most delicious street food in China. When we arrive in Xian, we expect a quiet, backward city that has preserved its past and is not overly developed. What we discovered is exactly the opposite. Xian is new, vibrant and exciting, and what we found is not what we expected, but it is better. Xian is a city that showcases both old and new China, authentic yet modern. It is also an easy city to get around and cheap to visit. Many of our most memorable experiences in Xian were due to the quirks of local life rather than the “best official historical attractions in Xian”.
Here is the list of the best historical attractions in Xian
Emperor Qin shi huang mausoleum site museum
The story of the Qin emperor is reminiscent of Game of Thrones, with hostages, feuding brothers, wars, and the ultimate unification and formation of what is now known as China. The Qin emperor built an army of 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 terracotta cavalry to protect himself in the afterlife. The soldiers on the front lines were known as the “Dare to Die” soldiers because they were quick and sharp as knives. They didn’t have as much armor as the rest of the fighters. This is one of the largest archaeological discoveries in the world, located one hour from Xi’an, China. It’s remarkable to see how accurately everything was restored by restoring the warriors as if they were putting together a complex puzzle.
Xi’an bell tower
The ancient city wall continues from this tower, which was the geographic center of ancient Xi’an, which was a military city in northwest China. With a height of 36 meters, it is a unique wooden tower in China. Built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a symbol of control and authority, the tower also acted as a checkpoint for potential adversaries. The door carvings are in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties, telling Chinese folk stories.
It has three eaves levels and two side levels, as well as a spiral staircase leading up. The interiors are amazing works of art with a distinctive Ming architectural style. This tower was moved 1,000 meters east of its original location, from the area near the Drum Tower. The relocation did not cause any damage to the tower and is therefore considered an important feat in the history of Chinese architecture.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in the Tang dynasty to house valuable Buddhist books brought back from the Silk Road by Xuanzang. It is a symbol of Buddhist culture. To date, the seven-story pagoda has housed a large number of precious treasures and Buddha statues. Taking a tour with a guide can help you learn more about the history and significance of the pagoda. If you get tired after your visit, take a break at the North Plaza of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Many parents bring their children here in the evening to enjoy the beautiful musical fountain and wonderful atmosphere for a family outing. If you are traveling with children, include them in your itinerary.
Tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
This is the burial place of Emperor Qin, who ruled China from 259 BC. C. until 259 a. C. and was the first emperor of the country. Even though the excavation was not completed due to lack of funds, there are many legends and stories about the secret treasure buried next to the Emperor. When you visit the Terracotta Warriors Museum, be sure to stop by this place. The tomb has a beautiful park that is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
Xi’an Historic Neighborhoods
In Xi’an, there are several historical areas worth exploring on foot, particularly between the Bell Tower and the Grand Mosque, and west of the South Gate. You’ll see historic houses and come across impressive stonework and gates as you stroll, like this one that leads to a temple.
Shaanxi History Museum
This museum is dedicated to Shaanxi Province, which is considered to be the birthplace of Chinese civilization, and is known as the “Pearl of Ancient Dynasties and the House of Chinese Treasures”. The Shaanxi History Museum is a must-see in Xi’an, representing thousands of years of Chinese history. Spanning 16 acres, this museum houses 370,000 artifacts and exhibits dating from prehistoric times to around 1840 AD
The exhibits are organized in different sections and the buildings are built in the architectural style of the Tang dynasty. The exhibition spaces are organized into four categories, the Preface Hall, permanent exhibition halls, temporary exhibition halls, and a Tang Wall Paintings exhibition hall. Three permanent exhibition spaces are located on two floors.
The Muslim Quarter
The Muslim Quarter may be located towards the center, with its back to the Drum Tower, which is located near the main street of Beiyuanmen. A seemingly endless maze of street food, restaurants, and lively local life awaits you from here. The Muslim Quarter is undoubtedly a foodie’s paradise, and is one of the best places to sample Xian’s signature foods, such as the Chinese hamburger, famous throughout China but originally from Xian. The lamb and flatbread stew, a soup bowl with vermicelli noodles, chunks of lamb, and chunks of pitta flatbread, has to be the most famous meal.
the city walls
Traveling to and from the city center will always pass through Xian’s city walls, and a walk from the central bell tower in any direction will always lead to the city gates. The tour of the upper part of these walls, which follows the circumference of the city, is the main attraction, and is one of the must-sees in Xian. Not only do you get a magnificent perspective of the city, but there are also many interesting places to see along the way. The path is approximately 14 kilometers long, with numerous possibilities to travel it.
The best entrance and starting point is always the South Gate, which costs around 54 yuan to enter. There are bicycle rental alternatives, as well as tandems for couples. For the indolent, a shuttle car costs around 80 yuan and takes about an hour and a half to traverse the city walls, stopping only four times at each city gate.
Han Dynasty Yangling Mausoleum
This is the combined mausoleum of Liu Qi, a renowned emperor of the Western Han dynasty, and his Empress Wang, which is located in Zhangjiawan village, about 20 kilometers north of Xi’an city. It was built in 153 AD and covers a total area of 4,942 acres. This historical and spectacular landmark is worth visiting because it contains several attractions.
xian drum tower
The Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty had this monument built in the early 14th century and it was renovated until the end of the 18th century. It is a two-story building with a height of 34 meters that combines architectural styles of the Tang and Qing dynasties. The unique feature of the structure is that no iron nails are used in its construction. The drum tower was built primarily to beat drums to declare or notify events such as enemy invasions or actual news. The weather is represented by twenty-four drums, each representing one of the twenty-four solar words devised by ancient Chinese scholars.
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