Xi'an Travel Guide
Xi’an is known to local Chinese people as the ‘eternal city’ because of its deep-rooted history. The city is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization, dating back to the 11th century BC.
Xi’an shares equal status with Athens, Cairo and Rome as one of the four ancient capitals of the world. Still an important and strategically located city today, it is the capital of Shaanxi Province, with the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north.
The cultural and historical importance of Xi’an, as well as the copious relics and sites, have ensured that the city has a reputation of being an outdoor museum rather than a progressive city. It is this reputation that ensures its popularity as a tourist destination year after year.
Popular sights in and around Xi’an include the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses (regarded as being the eighth wonder of the world); the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (listed on the World Heritage List and protected by the terracotta warriors) and the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty (dating back to 1368).
The city is also home to the Banpo Village Remains, which date back to the Neolithic Age (8000 BC), and the Forest of Stone Steles, which boasts 3,000 stone steles of different periods from history.
Another highlight on a trip to Xi’an is a trip to Famen Temple. This ancient site basks in the limelight as it is the oldest temple in the region and one of the oldest in China. It also houses the finger bones of Sakyamuni (the founder of Buddhism).
Nature lovers will be as happy as culture and history buffs as the landscape around the city is among the most scenic in China. It has a mountainous backdrop and is surrounded by rolling hills, lush paddy fields, colorful orchards, thick forests and flowing rivers.
The tourist infrastructure has seen significant development over recent years and there are now a number of five-star hotels available as well as restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world, bars, nightclubs, theaters and music halls. There is something for everyone including a wide range of shopping malls, designer outlets, electronic suppliers and department stores.
Getting There & Away
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is 43kms away form the city center and is one of China’s 10 busiest airports. There are over 50 domestic flights a day and many international flights, ensuring that you will never be stuck for a departure. Travel times from Beijing and Shanghai are 1 hour, 40 minutes and 2 hours, 20 minutes respectively. There are buses and taxis available to make the journey into downtown Xi’an in less than an hour.
Things to Do
- Famen Temple
Is one of the oldest temples in china and home to finger bones belonging to sakyamuni (the founder of buddhism).
- City Wall
Built in the ming dynasty, this structure dates back to 1368.
- Forest of Stone Steles
Houses 3,000 stone sculptures of different periods from history.
- Banpo Village Remains
These ancient remains have been traced back to 8000 bc; the neolithic age.
Side trips from Xi’an
- Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses
Located just outside the city, this open-air museum is a must-see. a trip to xi’an is not complete without taking the time to visit it. it is regarded by many as being the eighth wonder of the world.
- Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Protected by the terracotta warriors, this tomb is one of the most important in china.
- Mount Hua
This mountain overlooks the city and is home to a number of walking trails as well as ancient temples and beautiful views.
- Xi’an Art Festival of Ancient Culture
This annual event takes place every july and sees art exhibitions as well as book and poem readings, traditional dances and concerts, feasts and lots of singing and dancing.