Xi’an — One of the oldest cities in China

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Xi’an — Xī’ān

Xi’an (Chinese: 西安; pinyin: Xī’ān) is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People’s Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang’an before the Ming Dynasty.Xi’an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang.

 

Since the 1990s, as part of the economic revival of interior China especially for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi’an has re-emerged as an important cultural, industrial and educational centre of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and China’s space exploration program. It’s now one the most populous metropolitan areas in inland China with more than 8 million inhabitants.

Transportation

Xi’an has many areas that are easily accessible on foot. In many commercial, residential, educations zones in the city, especially in the shopping and entertainment districts around the Bell Tower, underpasses and overpasses have been built for the safety and convenience of pedestrians.

 

overpasses in Xi’an

Electric bikes are very popular among students and offer easy transportation in and around the city for many residents. Taxi services are numerous but many citizens of Xi’an still commute to work on one of more than 200 bus routes.

Terracotta Army (兵马俑, Bīnɡmǎyǒnɡ)

 

The Terracotta Army or the “Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife, and to make sure that he had people to rule over.

 

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔, Dàyàn Tǎ)

 

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda which was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang.

 

Drum Tower (鼓楼, Gǔlóu)

 

The Drum Tower, located in the heart of Xi’an, is a symbol of the city. Erected in 1380 during the early Ming Dynasty, it stands towering above the city center and offers incredible view of Xi’an. The Drum Tower got its name from the huge drum located within the building. In contrast to the Bell Tower, where bell was stricken at dawn, drum was beat at sunset to indicate the end of the day.

 

Bell Tower (钟楼, Zhōnɡlóu)

 

The Bell Tower, built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, is a symbol of the city and one of the grandest of its kind in China. The Bell Tower also contains several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty. The tower base is square and it covers an area of 1,377 square meters. It’s a brick and timber structure and close to 40 meters high.

 

City Wall of Xi’an (西安城墙, Xī’ān Chénɡqiánɡ)

 

The city wall of Xi’an represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls. Construction of the first city wall began in 194 BCE and lasted for four years. That wall measured 25.7 kilometres (16.0 mi) in length, 12–16 metres (39–52 ft) in thickness at the base. The area within the wall was c. 36 square kilometres (14 sq mi). The existing wall was started by the Ming Dynasty in 1370. It encircles a much smaller city of 14 square kilometres (5.4 sq mi). The wall measures 13.7 kilometres (8.5 mi) in circumference, 12 metres (39 ft) in height, and 15–18 metres (49–59 ft) in thickness at the base.

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