The continuous history of Xi’an has apparently resulted in its magnificent culture. Today’s Xi’an is a world famous tourist city and an inexhaustible treasure house of cultural relics. Now heads of state from many countries and people from all walks of life come to the city to broaden their knowledge of Chinese civilization.
The foremost is the China’s greatest archeological excavation, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations symbolically guard the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.). The State Council authorized the building of a museum on the site in 1975 for the protection of the discovery. So far, altogether over 8,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed and displayed in the museum. It is cited as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.
Spending some time at the Huaqing Hot Springs on the way back from the Terracotta Army site is a must for every visitor to Xi’an. For centuries emperors came here to bathe and enjoy the scenic beauty, and it has been a favorite spa since the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D). The palace complex has also been the scene of political intrigue, so there is plenty of interest to discover during your visit.
Covering an area of about 100,000 square meters, the Ruins of Banpo Village was a village settlement of the earliest inhabitants of Xi’an, typical of the Neolithic Yangshao culture. At this site, archaeologists have discovered nearly 10,000 production tools and daily utensils of various kinds and the remains of 46 houses, 200 cellars, 6 pottery kilns, 174 adults’ burial pits and 73 children’s burial jars.
Every Ming city (1368-1644) had a bell tower and a drum tower. The bell was sounded at dawn and the drum at dusk. The two buildings at Xian are the best known in China. The Bell Tower was built in the city center and from the top you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Not far away to the west is the Drum Tower, a large drum inside was for marking the passage of time each night in ancient times. Now, they are outstanding examples of the ancient architecture of Xi’an.
Housing more than 3,000 steles and inscribed memorial tablets of the Han, Wei, Sui, Tang, Yuan, Ming, Qing dynasties and known as the largest “stone-book warehouse” in China, the Stele Forest in Xi’an is a treasure house of calligraphic art. And it is situated on Sanxue Jie, near the south gate of the Xi’an City Wall.
The Ancient City Wall of Xi’an is the most complete city wall to survive in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. It was built first in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and renovated in recent years. Outside the city wall is a moat. A circular park has now been built along the high wall and the deep moat.
Additional attractions are the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D), while worshipers still frequent the Great Mosque and the famous Famen Temple noted for its collection of Sakyamuni’s relics. These together with the magnificent Shaanxi History Museum are all highly recommended attractions to be visited when you come to Xi’an.