A Great Attraction In Xian

By: Wolfgang Jaegel

The capital of the Shaanxi Province, Xian is the north-west China's largest city, and is situated south of the Guanzhong Plain. Known as Chang'an in ancient times, Xian finds a prominent place in the Chinese history, and was once the economic, cultural, political, and transportation center of the country.

Xian served as the capital of more than ten ancient regal dynasties and that too for a period spanning from 1000 BC to 1000 AD. The history of the city dates back to about 3,000 years ago when the western Zhou Dynasty made the city as its capital, which was then known as Haojing.

The western Zhou Dynasty flourished and was much famed for its bronze, of which some of now forms part of the Shaanxi provincial Museum. But, the reign of the Western Zhou Dynasty came to an end in 771 BC when the Barbarians invaded the dynasty.

Later, the Eastern Zhou Dynasty made Luoyang as its capital. In 221BC, the country was unified under the control of the emperor Qinshihuang, who made Xiangyang as its capital and laid a strong foundation for the feudal society. But, the rule of Qin was taken over by Han, who ruled Xian from 206 BC to 220 AD, during which the city became prosperous. It was during this period the renowned Silk Road - a prominent trade route connecting the ancient country with the central Asian as well as European nations, was established.

The city further gained much recognition during the reign of Tang Dynasty, during which Xian became one of the international cities of the time. However, Xian began to decline after the fall of the Tang Dynasty. Apart from these aforesaid dynasties, Xian was also the capital of such dynasties as the Xihan, Xinmang, Western Jin, Former Zhao, pre-Qin, post-Qin, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, and Sui.

With centuries old history, rich archeological findings, and treasure trove of cultural relics, Xian is acknowledged as the 'Cradle of Chinese Civilization,' and has now become a well-known tourist city. Taking a tour to Xian is just like walking through more than 5000 years old Chinese history. In fact, Xian is a must-see destination for those who are interested in exploring the ancient civilization of the country as well as its history and culture.

The greatest of the attraction in Xian is perhaps the Xian City Wall, which was erected by the emperor Zhu Yuanzhang during the period of Ming dynasty. The City Wall was actually erected to widen the wall that was built during the reign of Tang Dynasty. This is regarded as the country's best preserved city wall and is the world's largest ancient military defensive system.

Another great attraction in the city is Xian Bell Tower and Drum Tower, which was built during the period of the Ming Dynasty. No visit to Xian would be complete without taking a tour to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which consists of three classifications such as Big Wild Goose Pagoda - rising up to a height of 65 meters with seven stories; North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which is credited to be Asia's biggest fountain square; and Da Ci'en Temple, within which the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower are housed, apart from a range of other richly adorned attractions like Sermon Hall, the Hall of Mahavira, and the Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang.

Other not to miss attractions in the city are Terra-cotta Army Museum, whose focal point is terra cotta warrior lined in a real battle formation; Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, a museum of the national level which has on display more than 110,000 artifacts; Xian Famen Temple, an exciting shrine with an interesting history; Xian Great Mosque, a grand mosque which was once a prominent religious center of Arab merchants in the country and now serves more than 50000 Chinese Muslims in the area.

Forest of Stone Steles Museum, boasting of largest collection of steles in the country; Banpo Neolithic Village Museum, where you can find the remains of Neolithic people; and Xian Huaqing Hot Springs. When comes to activities, visitors to Xian can enjoy a range of activities from shopping to dining.

With these superb varieties of attractions, it is no wonder why people from across the world flock to this amazing destination.

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