Xi'an was, at several points in history, the greatest city in
the world. Its location at the Chinese end of the Silk Road has
consistently made it one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan areas
The numerous mosques and archaeological sites in the city and
its environs stand as a testament to the greatness of a city that
exercised a power and influence in the East on a par with Rome's in
the Western world.
In 1974, a farmer digging a well came across a few terracotta
statues in the ground. What archeologists later discovered was that
he had unearthed part of the first Qin emperor's massive
2,000-year-old tomb. One section of the tomb has been unearthed,
revealing over 8,000 warriors, horses and chariots, no two of which
are identical. Today the Army of Terracotta Warriors rivals the
Great Wall for China's most renowned historical sight.
Enjoy walking or biking along Xi'an's ancient city wall and
enjoy sweeping views of the old city below. Stroll through the
city's western Muslim quarter, and pass narrow streets lined with
mud brick houses and home to traditional restaurants, shops and
Visit the Banpo Neolithic Village to see well-preserved relics
of the cultures present in this area of China circa 4,000 BC.
Remains include a residential enclosure, a cemetery and an
interesting pottery-manufacturing area with six kilns. The museum
houses pottery, farming and hunting tools, personal ornaments and
The Forest of Steles is one of the world's largest and heaviest
collections of stone-inscribed books, some of which are nearly
2,500 years old. The books cover a wide range of topics, from
classical texts to depictions of historical incidents to funerary
Be sure to visit the Shaanxi History Museum, one of China's
best. It houses a wide variety of artifacts from both prehistoric
and dynastic periods. Visit the Big Goose Pagoda and the Great
Mosque, and have a hotpot lunch (we like the one at Wan Nian Hotel)
for a quintessential Xi'an experience.