The Chinese city of Xian is located in the central-northwest part of the country; the city has experienced many dynasties and eras of China leaving behind monuments and historic sites to offer tourists a glimpse into China’s past. Xian is located in the Yellow River Basin and was originally called Chang’an or the Eternal City. Here Chinese civilization evolved and as the final point along the Silk Road Xian saw many foreign civilizations pass though its city gates bringing wealth and an exposure to other cultures. Xian was home to 13 dynasties including the Qin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties. During the Tang dynasty Xian was at its peak with over 2 million residents. The many archaeological sites in Xian present a clear illustration of the city’s 3,000 years of civilization. Xian was the capital of China for 1,500 years and is still a leading force in Chinese culture, education, industry and commerce.
Apart from the historic and cultural highlights of Xian as the capital of an ancient civilization, the city is also a great place to relax in one of the many natural hot springs. The city is known for its spa resorts and the Huaqing hot springs. Xian has many modern bars, restaurants, shopping outlets, world-class hotels and modern attractions.
As an important transport hub there are flights and trains which connect Xian to Beijing making it possible to visit Xian from Beijing even if you only have a day to see the sites. One day tours from Beijing to Xian will offer you a glimpse into the historic sites and cultural relics of Xian.
The main reason people take a tour from Beijing to Xian is to see the Terracotta Warriors. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the top attractions in China. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses were created to be buried together with Emperor Qin Shi Huang who took the throne at age 13 in 246BC. The site covers 16,300m² and consists of three pits full of life-size soldiers made out of terracotta. The soldiers are a replica of the Imperial guard and were meant to guard the emperor in the afterlife. The soldiers and horses stand in military battle formation, each soldier was individually made, each with a unique posture, facial expressions, hairstyle and clothing. In all more than 7,000 terracotta soldiers, horses and chariots have been uncovered and the archaeological project continues with new discoveries being made constantly. The Terracotta Museum at the site where the soldiers were found is Xian’s top attraction. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and even if tourists are visiting only the capital of Beijing they usually make the time to travel to Xian to see the Terracotta soldiers.
In addition to the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses Xian has many other sites to offer. Top of the list is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, constructed in 652 during the Tang Dynasty. The structure was used by Buddhists to store and translate religious works brought from India by hierarch Xuanzang. The 7 storey high pagoda is 64.5 meters tall and located within the Da Ci’en Temple Complex. Another of Xian’s top attractions is the City Wall. This ancient city wall surrounds the city center and visitors can walk along the top of the wall which is the best preserved city wall in the country.
The fascinating city of Xian should not be missed; even if you have come to China just to visit Beijing it is possible to take an organized tour to Xian which includes return-trip air tickets. On a one day tour from Beijing to Xian you will be there and back within a day and you will have seen one of the greatest sites on Earth – the Terracotta Warriors.