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Chang'an · 长安
—  Sub-provincial city  —
From top: Terracotta Army, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Drum Tower of Xi'an, Hua Shan (Mount Hua), City wall of Xi'an, and the Tang Paradise
Xi'an in Shaanxi, China
Xi'an is located in China
Location within China
Coordinates: 34°16′N 108°54′E / 34.267°N 108.9°E / 34.267; 108.9
Province Shaanxi
 - CPC Xi'an Sun Qingyun (孙清云)
 - Mayor Chen Baogen (陈宝根)
 - Sub-provincial city 9,983 km2 (3,854.5 sq mi)
 - Urban 1,166 km2 (450.2 sq mi)
 - Yangling 94 km2 (36.3 sq mi)
Elevation 405 m (1,329 ft)
Population (2000)
 - Sub-provincial city 8,252,000
 Density 826.6/km2 (2,140.9/sq mi)
 Urban 2,670,000
 - Urban Density 2,289.9/km2 (5,930.8/sq mi)
Time zone CST (UTC+8)
Postal code 710000 - 710090
Area code(s) +86/29
GDP (2008)
- Total ¥219 billion
- Per capita ¥26,259
License plate prefixes 陕A
City flower Guava flower
City tree Black locust

Xi'an (Chinese: 西安pinyin: Xī'ānWade-Giles: Hsi-An; literally "Western Peace"; Postal map spelling: Sian[1][2]; (IPA: [ɕian]) historically known as Cháng'ān[1]), is the capital of the Shaanxi province in the People's Republic of China and a sub-provincial city. As one of the oldest cities in Chinese history, Xi'an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China because it has been the capital (under various names) of some of the most important dynasties in Chinese history,[3] including the Zhou, Qin, Han, the Sui, and Tang dynasties.[3] Xi'an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home of the Terracotta Army which was made during the Qin Dynasty.[1] The city has more than 3,100 years of history, and was known as Chang'an (simplified Chinese: 长安traditional Chinese: 長安pinyin: Cháng'ān; literally "Perpetual Peace") before the Ming Dynasty.[1]

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 center of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and China's space exploration program.


Origin of name

The two Chinese characters in the name "Xi'an" literally mean Western Peace. The local Xi'anese pronunciation of Xi'an is almost the same as the Standard Mandarin pronunciation in Hanyu Pinyin. This name derives from the Ming Dynasty, when the city's name changed from its former title of "Chang'an". In fact, the naming conventions used for the city have often changed throughout time. The city was named "Fenghao" (丰鎬) in the Zhou Dynasty beginning around 1046 BCE. It was renamed Chang'an (長安) during the Han Dynasty in 206 BCE. It was then renamed as Daxing (大興) during the Sui Dynasty in 581 CE, then renamed Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty beginning in 618 CE. It was given other names in later periods, such as Fengyuan (奉元), then Anxi (安西), then Jingzhao (京兆) during the Yuan Dynasty. Finally, it was named Xi'an in the year 1369 CE during the Ming Dynasty. It retained the name of Xi'an until 1928, until it was named Xijing (西京) in 1930. It was once again changed back to its Ming-era name of Xi'an in the year 1943.

Xi'an's abbreviations in Chinese are Hao (鎬) or Tang (唐). The former abbreviation is derived from the ancient name Fenghao of the Zhou Dynasty. The latter one is derived from the name of Tang Dynasty.


Terracotta Army inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, 3rd century BCE.
Statues in the Imperial Tomb of Tang Emperor Gaozong, one of the many Tang Dynasty-era mausoleums located in the Xi'an area
Bell Tower of Xi'an

Xi'an has a rich and culturally significant history. The Lantian Man was discovered in 1963 in Lantian County (蓝田县; pinyin: Lántián Xiàn), 50 km southeast of Xi'an, and dates back at least 500,000 years before present. A 6,500 year old Banpo (半坡) Neolithic village in was discovered in 1954 on the outskirts of the city proper.

Xi'an became a cultural and political center of China in 11th century BCE with the founding of the Zhou Dynasty. The capital of Zhou was established in Fēng (沣/灃) and Hào (镐/鎬), both located just west of contemporary Xi'an. Following the Warring States Period, China was unified under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) for the first time, with the capital located at Xianyang (咸阳), just northwest from modern Xi'an. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and his mausoleum just east of Xi'an almost immediately upon his ascension to the throne.

In 202 BCE, the founding emperor Liu Bang of the Han Dynasty established his capital in Chang'an County; his first palace Changle Palace (长乐宫/長樂宮, perpetual happiness) was built across the river from the ruin of the Qin capital. This is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an, or Xi'an. Two years later, Liu Bang built Weiyang Palace (未央宫) north of modern Xi'an. The original Xi'an city wall was started in 194 BCE and took 4 years to finish. Upon completion, the wall measured 25.7 km (15.97 mi) in length and 12–16 m (39.37–52.49 ft) in thickness at the base, enclosing an area of 36 km2 (13.90 sq mi). In the year 190, amidst uprisings and rebellions just prior to the Three Kingdoms Period, a powerful warlord named Dong Zhuo moved the court from Luoyang to Chang'an in a bid to avoid a coalition of other powerful warlords against him.

Following several hundred years of unrest, Sui Dynasty united China again in 582. The emperor of Sui ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing (大兴/大興, great prosperity). It consisted of three sections: the Xi'an Palace, the Imperial City, and the civilian section, with a total area of 84 km² within the city walls. At the time, it was the largest city in the world. The city was renamed Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty. In the mid-7th century, after returning from his pilgrimage to India, Buddhist monk Xuan Zang (popularly known as Tang Sanzang) established a translation center for Sanskrit scriptures.

Construction of the Da Yan Pagoda (大雁塔, Great Wild Goose Pagoda) began in 652. This pagoda was 64 m (209.97 ft) in height, and was built to store the translations of Buddhist sutras obtained from India by the Xuan Zang. In 707, construction of the Xiao Yan Pagoda (小雁塔, Little Wild Goose Pagoda) began, and measured 45 m (147.64 ft) tall at the time of completion. The massive 1556 Shaanxi earthquake eventually damaged the tower and reduced its height to 43.4 m (142.39 ft).

Chang'an was devastated at the end of the Tang Dynasty in 904. Residents were forced to move to the new capital city in Luoyang. Only a small area in the city continued to be occupied thereafter. During the Ming Dynasty, a new wall was constructed in 1370 and remains intact to this day. The wall measures 11.9 km in circumference, 12 m (39.37 ft) in height, and 15–18 m (49.21–59.06 ft) in thickness at the base; a moat was also built outside the walls. The new wall and moat would protect a much smaller city of 12 km².

In October 1911, during the revolution in which the Qing Dynasty was overthrown, the Manchus living in the north-eastern zone within the city walls were massacred.[4] In 1936, the Xi'an Incident took place inside the city walls during the Chinese Civil War. The incident brought the Kuomintang (KMT) and Communist Party of China to a truce to in order to concentrate on fighting against the Japanese Invasion.

Geography and climate



Xi'an lies on the Guanzhong Plain in central China, on a flood plain created by the eight surrounding rivers and streams, most of which are too polluted to be used as sources of fresh water. The city has an average elevation of 400 metres (1,312 ft) above sea level and an annual precipitation of 1,100 millimetres (43 in). The urban area of Xi'an is located at 34°16′N 108°56′E / 34.267°N 108.933°E / 34.267; 108.933 The Wei River provides potable water to the city.

The city borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountains to the south, and the banks of the Wei River to the north. Hua Shan, one of the five sacred Taoist mountains, is located 100 km away to the east of the city.

At the beginning of Han Dynasty, Prime Minister Zhang Liang advised the emperor Liu Bang to choose Guanzhong as the capital of the Han Dynasty: 'Guanzhong Plain, which is located behind Xiao Pass and Hangu Pass, connects Long Plain and Shu Plain. Land of thousands miles and rich in harvest can be found here, as if this place is belongs to the nation of the heaven.' ("关中左崤函, 右陇蜀, 沃野千里, 此所谓金城千里, 天府之国也" 《史记·留侯世家》) Since then, Guanzhong is also known as 'Nation of the Heaven'.

National Time Service Centre

The Shaanxi Astronomical Observatory was established in 1966. In 1975, according to the Geodetic Origin Report of the People's Republic of China, 'in order to avoid bias in the mensuration as much as possible, the Geodetic Origin would be in central mainland China.' Jingyang (泾阳), a town near Xi'an was chosen. Since 1986, Chinese Standard Time (CST) was set from NTSC. The NTSC at Jingyang is 36 km away from Xi'an. Distances to the national borders are 880 km to the North, 2500 km to the Northeast, 1000 km to the East, 1750 km to the South, 2250 km to the Southwest, 2930 km to the West, and 2500 km to the Northwest.

National Time Service Center (NTSC), the Chinese Academy of Sciences is an institute which is mainly engaged in the service and research on time and frequency. NTSC takes charge of generating and maintaining the national standard time scale, disseminating the time and frequency signals. The autonomous standard time scales of universal time and atomic time and the dissemination techniques with LF radio and HF radio were established successively during the 1970s and 1980s, which meet all the requirements for different applications on the whole, such as the scientific researches, national economy, etc.[5]


Xi'an has a steppe climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. The city features a temperate climate that is influenced by the East Asian monsoon. The region is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. Spring and autumn are brief in between. Xi'an receives most of its annual precipitation from August to late October in the form of rain. Snow occasionally falls in winter but rarely settles for long. Dust storms often occur during March and April as the city rapidly warms up. Summer seasons also experience frequent but short thunderstorms.

Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
Climate data for Xi'an (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.8
Average low °C (°F) -3.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 6.9
Sunshine hours 100.8 103.2 120.8 147.9 171.4 185.3 191.9 195.4 127.0 111.1 98.4 92.8 1,646.1
% Humidity 66 63 66 68 68 62 71 75 79 77 74 69 70
Avg. precipitation days 4 5 7 9 9 9 11 9 12 11 7 3 96
Source: 中国气象局 国家气象信息中心 2009-03-17
Source #2: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)[6] 2009 December 29


By the end of 2005, Xi'an had a population of 8.07 million.[7] Compared to the census data from 2000, the population has increased by 656,700 persons from 7.41 million.[7] The population is 51.66% male and 48.34% female.[7] The district with the most population is YanTa Qu, with 1.08 million inhabitants.[7]

The majority of Xi'an residents are Han Chinese, who make up 99.1% of the city's total population. There are around 50,000 people belonging to ethnic minorities living in Xi'an, including 80,000 Muslim Hui people concentrated in the Muslim quarter, which is also home to the 1,360 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an.

During World War II, Xi'an became a destination for many refugees from other provinces of China, especially neighboring Henan Province. Because Xi'an was far inland, the invading Japanese army only managed a few aerial assaults on the city. As a result, Xi'an suffered minimal destruction. After 1949, the national government tried to balance the development in different regions of China, and relocated a number of factories and universities from other cities to Xi'an. Modern Xi'an Jiaotong University was relocated from its original campus in Shanghai.


The sub-provincial city of Xi'an has direct jurisdiction over 9 districts (区 qu) and 4 Counties (县 xian):

Subdivisions of Xi'an-China.png Subdivision Population Land area   Subdivision Population Land area
as of 2006 km² as of 2006 km²
Xi'an City Proper   Xi'an Suburban and Rural
Beilin-qu 碑林区 700,000 22.0   Chang'an-qu 长安区 930,000 1583
Yanta-qu 雁塔区 690,000 152.0   Yanliang-qu 阎良区 240,000 240.0
Weiyang-qu 未央区 410,000 261   Lintong-qu 临潼区 670,000 898.0
Baqiao-qu 灞桥区 450,000 322  
Xincheng-qu 新城区 490,000 31.0   Lantian-xian 蓝田县 640,000 1,977.0
Lianhu-qu 莲湖区 600,000 38.00   Zhouzhi-xian 周至县 630,000 2,956.0
  Hu-xian 户县 590,000 1,213.0
  Gaoling-xian 高陵县 230,000 290

Transportation and infrastructure

Underpass around the Bell Tower
Xi'an Railway Station

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. However many intersections still lack sufficiently visible traffic lights and the right-of-way is virtually non-existent except at large intersections with traffic police and signals.

There has been a significant increase in the number of privately-owned vehicles among middle and upper class households 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.


Currently there are major construction works along Chang An street for the first metro system in Xi'an, designed with 6 lines, to be completed by 2020.

Work started on the 2nd route in 2007, and is predicted to be finished in 2011. The 1st route has started in early 2009, while the rest is planned to start in 2013 and to be finished around 2020.


Taxis in Xi'an are predominantly VW Santana made in Shanghai, BYD Auto made in Xi'an, and Citroen made in Wuhan. Taxis work 24 hours a day, managed by the Taxi Management Bureau of Xi'an City which records complaints. Customers are charged by meter.

Most, if not all, taxis in Xi'an run on compressed natural gas.


There are 6 passenger transport railway stations in Xi'an, and Xi'an Railway Station is one of the eight major national railway stations. Other stations in Xi'an include Xi'an West, Xi'an East, Xi'an South,Sanmincun, Fangzhicheng railway stations. Xi'an North Railway Station is under construction.

Xi'an Railway Station covers 597 thousand square meters, has 5 passenger platforms, and 24 tracks. It provides 112 services to 80 thousand people daily. There are services from Xi'an to Zhengzhou, from Xi'an to Lanzhou, from Xi'an to Baoji,and from Xi'an to Mount Hua. CRH2(China Railway High-speed 2) now run an express service running from Xi'an to Baoji, with a total running time of under 90 minutes.


Xi'an currently has two ring road systems, the Second Ring road and the Third Ring road encircle the city. These ring roads similar to freeways, except that there are traffic signals on the Second Ring road.

As a famous tourist city, Xi'an has built expressways to Lintong, Tongchuan and Baoji, with high class roads to famous scenic spots in suburban counties and to the north slope of the Qin Mountains. Since September 2007, the newly completed Xi-Han Expressway connects Han Zhong and Xi'an through the Qinling Mountains. The ZhongNan Shan Tunnel is the longest tunnel in Asia at 15 kilometers long.

Xi'an Xianyang International Airport


Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is the major airport serving the city and is the largest airport in the northwestern part of China. The airport is located to the northwest of the city, between Xi'an and Xianyang. Chang'an Airlines and China Eastern Airlines are the main airlines using the airport.

International Routes: There are direct flights from Xi'an to many major cities in Asia, including Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hong Kong, Osaka, Pusan, Sapporo and Singapore.

Germany's Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt Airport, has paid 490 million yuan to obtain a 24.5-percent stake in the Xianyang International Airport, offering opportunities to upgrade and expand the facility.



A typical Chinese pavilion located in Xi'an
Traditional Chinese musical performances at Xi'an

The culture of Xi'an descends from one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren (关中人/關中人) culture is considered the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese; their features are satirized as the "Ten Strangenesses of Guanzhong Ren" (关中十大怪/關中十大怪). Xi'an is also known for the "Eight Great Sights of Chang'an" (长安八景/長安八景), a collection of scenic areas in the region.


Seven styles of architecture dominate urban Xi'an, the first three include the architecture of Qin and Han dynasties (秦汉风格), the architecture of Tang Dynasty (唐风) and the architecture of Ming and Qing dynasties (明清风格). These three styles are all Chinese traditional, but they may be differentiated by the colors of the roof and certain details. For Qin and Han Style, the roof is black, and no decorations are used under the roof. For Tang style, red roofs may be seen but a majority retain the use of the black or dark green roof; buildings were designed to be large and monumental. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, roofs were usually yellow and highly detailed drawings and prints were placed under the roof.

The Republic of China style (民国风格) is perhaps best exemplified by the People's Showplace. The Sino-Soviet style (苏式风格), popular from the 1950s to 70s, is often used in the west of the city in factories built with the help of the U.S.S.R.. Modern architectural forms (现代风格) — can be found in the High-Tech Zone and the Economic-Development zone.

A new Chinese architectural form called New Tang Style (新唐风) can be mainly found in Qujiang (曲江), which inherits the soul of tradition and develops itself on the base of modern architecture; the Shaanxi History Museum and the Xi'an Museum are examples of this style.

Drama and literature

Qinqiang (秦腔, Voice of Qin) is the oldest and most extensive of the four major types of Chinese opera. Also called "random pluck" (乱弹), Qinqiang is the main type of drama in Shaanxi province. As the earliest ancestor of Beijing Opera, Yu Opera, Chuan Opera and Hebei Opera, Qinqiang has developed its own system of unique vocal music, spoken parts, facial makeup, posture, role, category and acting. It can be traced to Xi Qinqiang (西秦腔, Voice of West Qin) in Qin Dynasty, and blossomed until Qing Dynasty, with direct influences on Jingju (京剧, Chinese Opera).

The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance show presents ancient music and dance.

Art, music, film and others

Chang'an School (长安画派) is a very important modern Chinese school of traditional arts. The main artists are Zhao Wangyun (赵望云), Shilu (石鲁), He Haixia (何海霞), Liu Wenxi (刘文西).

Much like Beijing 798 and Shanghai 1933, Xi'an has an art district called Textile town (纺织城). The district is not an actual town but derives its name from the many textile factories built there since the 1950s. Today it is no longer a centre for the textile industry but a new art factory with 4 workshops in total. Since March 2007, more than 40 artists have taken a part in these workshops.

Xi'an is known for its rock music, and is one of the vigorous underground musical centres in China - the other three being Beijing, Kunming and Chengdu. It is home to contemporary Chinese Stars such as Xu Wei (许巍), Zhang Chu (张楚), Zheng Jun (郑钧).

Zhang Yimou (张艺谋) and Gu Changwei (顾长卫) are directors from Xi'an. Xi'an is also the only city in China to win the Golden Bear (Berlin Film Festival) twice. The first film is Red Sorghum and the second one is Tuya's Marriage. They are produced by Xi'an Filmmaking Factory (now called Xi'an Qujiang Filmmaking Group) and Xi'an Filmmaking company respectively.

Chinese economists from Northwestern University in Xi'an include Zhang Weiying (张维迎), Zhang Shuguang (张曙光), Weijie (魏杰), Liu Shijin (刘世锦), Song Ze (宋则), Fenglun (冯仑), Feng Zongsu (冯宗苏), Zou Dongtao (邹东涛), Li Yiping (李义平), Zuo Zhonghai (左中海). Zhang Chaoyang (张朝阳), the CEO of SOHU (Nasdaq) company, born and grew up in Xi'an, is the leader in the field of Chinese Internet. Liu Chuanzhi(柳传志), the founder and president of Lenovo Holding, completed his higher education in Xidian University of Xi'an in 1960s.

R&D Strength

In June 2009, National development and reform commission has approved Xi'an as National Experimental Zone for Integration of R&D Resource (统筹科技资源改革的全国试验区). This is considering the following:

Firstly, its one of the China's most important comprehensive scientific and technological R&D center, only next to Beijing and Shanghai. There are 365 different types of research institutions, 160 national and provincial-level key laboratories, engineering and technology research centers, and industrial testing centers, and various professional and technical staff of 420 thousand, of whom 44 are academicians.

Secondly, its unparalleled military strength. Shaanxi is China's defense industry's largest province, over 60% of the province's military capacity and 86% of the scientific research institutes are concentrated in Xi'an, Xi'an has therefore become the most powerful cities in the country of military equipment and military technology, powerful and complete, especially obvious advantage in the field of aviation and aerospace, nuclear, electronics, ships, weapons 。

The following are cited from, biz newspaper of Nanfang Press holding: 《规划》最终选择了统筹科技资源,背后起支撑作用的是西安独有的两张大牌。 一是其仅次于北京、上海而居全国第三的综合科技实力。西安现有各类科研机构365个,国家和省部级重点实验室、工程技术研究中心、行业测试中心和平台160多家,以及各类专业技术人员42万人,其中两院院士44人。 二是无与伦比的军工实力。陕西是中国军工第一大省,全省军工60%以上的能力和86%的科研院所都集中在西安,西安因此成为全国军事装备最强的城市,军工技术实力雄厚,门类齐全,尤其在航空航天、核、电子、船舶、兵器领域具有明显的领先优势。【21世纪网】本文网址:

Economy and business

Industrial zones

Major industrial zones in Xi'an include:

  • Xi'an Economic & Technological Development Zone
  • Xi'an High-tech Industries Development Zone

Telecommunications industry

China's 3G standard(Datang Telecom) and Wireless standard(Xidian university) are birthed in Xian. And many other Many domestic and multinational telecommunications vendors have set up their R&D centers and/or factories in Xi'an, including Huawei, ZTE, CATT, NEC, Fujitsu and Siemens. Xi'an is China's leading center of training for engineers. The universities and local companies of Xi'an have provided hundreds of thousands of engineers for the Chinese telecommunications industry.

Software, outsourcing industry and BPO

CBD, Tangyan Road, Xi'an

The growing economy of Xi'an supports the development of a software industry, and the city is a pioneer in software industry in China.

In 2005, the production value of software industry reached RMB 8.2 billion Yuan, with export revenue up to $US 42 million.

In recent years, service outsourcing industry in Xi'an has maintained robust growth. The outstanding contractor enterprises, rich human resources and preferential policies have paved a solid foundation for Xi'an to becoming a capital for service outsourcing.

Xi'an, as a second-tier city in China after the likes of Beijing and Shanghai, has a track record in the Business Process Outsourcing field. The local government is using tax and other incentives to encourage companies and professionals to relocate there.

A article describes Xi'an: "But Xi'an is selling on its own merits - with a large pool of cheap human resources from the 100 universities in the area, it hoovers up around 3,000 computer graduates every year, each earning approximately $120 a month - half the wages for the equivalent job in Beijing."[8][9]

Game Industry

The largest internet bar in the world with more than 3000 computers is located in Xi'an. As one of the largest educational centres in China, with a huge number of undergraduate students, online games are very popular in the area. Xi'an has already hosted worldwide game competitions such as ACON5, CEG2006, and WCG2006.

State defense Industry

Facts: -Xi’an is located at the center of the inland Guanzhong Basin, also called Weihe Plain or Central Shaanxi Plain, that lies between the Northern Shaanxi Plateau and Qinling Mountainous Range and it boasts a stretch of fertile flat land and rich water resources, which are supportive of agricultural development.

-Xi’an has a geographical advantage due to its fertility and strategic situation which is protected by mountains that has made it a natural stronghold.

-Xi’an has some 50 state-level laboratories and testing centres which are capable of absorbing, digesting and transplanting of the domestic and overseas advanced technologies.

-Xi’an has produced significant scientific achievements such as China's first engine for carrier rocket, China's first satellite-borne computer and China's first integrated circuit.

-Transportation equipment manufacturing is Xi’an largest industry and it is based on three pillars, namely, aviation equipment, railway transportation equipment and motor vehicles

-Xi’an also housed many China's state owned military-industry and aims to create an excellent environment for the development of science and of technological industries for national defense by promoting the industrialization of hi-tech achievements and accelerating the construction of space and aviation industrial parks.

Aviation industry

Refer to XAC(Xi'an Aviation Company)

Aerospace industry

In 2008, after the launch of the initial aerospace center in Shanghai, China is constructing another civil aerospace center in the Shaanxi province. The State Development and Reform Commission approved the planning of Xi'an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base on December 26, 2007. The National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base of Xi'an, set to cover 23 square km, will focus on developing satellites, new materials, energies, IT and other technologies for civil applications.

In November 2006, Xi'an and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation jointly set up Xi'an Aerospace Science and Technology Industrial Base. From its establishment, the base has focused on the development of the civil space industry, including equipment manufacturing, software and service outsourcing, new materials and solar photovoltaics.

Apart from the core area, the base will cover Xi'an and the Guanzhong area (the central China) and the expansion zone will reach Northwest China and Southwest China. It is expected that by 2012 the total industry output can reach 2.8 billion us dollars with about 10 to 20 brand products with intellectual property rights and 5-8 products with global competitiveness.

Weapon Industry

Major Center for Missiles Production

International events

World Horticultural Expo 2011

Xi’an was chosen to host the 2011 World Horticultural Exposition by the Association of International Producers of Horticulture (AIPH) at its 59th congress, held at Brighton, United Kingdom on September 4, 2007. The 2011 World Horti-Expo will be held from April 11 to October 11, 2011. The exhibition will be located in a new district of the city, Chanba district, and is expected to bring some 10 million visitors to Xi’an.[10]


High season

Long holidays are usual during Spring Festival, Labor Holiday (1–7 May), and National Holiday (1–7 October). The number of travellers is often greater during Summer (May-August), although the most pleasant season for visiting Xi'an is Autumn.


City wall of Xi'an
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
The Famen Pagoda
Mount Huashan, one of the great mountains of China

Because of the city’s many historical monuments and a plethora of ancient ruins and tombs in the vicinity,[1] tourism has been an important component of the local economy, and the Xi’an region is one of China's most popular tourist destinations.[1]

The city has many important historical sites, and some are ongoing archaeological projects, such as the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army. There are several burial mounds, tombs of the Zhou Dynasty kings located in the city.[3] Xi'an also contains some 800 royal mausoleums and tombs from the Han Dynasty,[11] with some of them yielding hundreds of sculpted clay soldiers, and remains of sacrificial temples from the Han era.[11] The city has numerous Tang Dynasty pagodas and is noted for its history museum and its stele forest, which is housed in an 11th-century Confucian temple containing large stone tablets from various dynasties.[11]

Some of the most well-known sites in Xi'an are:

  • The city is surrounded by a well-preserved City wall of Xi'an which was re-constructed in the 14th century during the early Ming Dynasty and was based on the inner imperial palace of Tang Dynasty.
  • The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) and his Terracotta Army are located 40 km to the east of the city center, in the city's suburbs.
  • The Bell Tower and Drum Tower, both are located at the city's central axis.
  • The city's Muslim quarter, which is home to the Great Mosque of Xi'an.
  • The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda are both spectacular towers and both are well over 1,000 years old and have survived great earthquakes. The former is next to a large square with the largest fountain in Asia which projects water high into the air, rising and falling in time to music during one of the daily performances (usually at noon and soon after sunset). They protected Buddhist writings in the past.
  • The Stele Forest is famous for its numerous historic inscriptions and stoneworks
  • The Famen Temple and its towering pagoda located on the city's outskirt
  • Xi Ming Temple
  • Wolong Temple at Kaitong lane
  • Xingjiao Temple at Shaolin Yuan (where Xuanzang's Tomb lies)
  • Jianfu Temple
  • Blue Dragon Temple
  • Wangji Temple
  • The Banpo Neolithic village is located on the outskirt of the city proper
  • The Qianling Mausoleum, one of the many Tang Dynasty era tombs located in Xi'an
  • The Shaanxi History Museum has a large collection of artifacts both modern and ancient.
  • Mount Hua (华山) is one of the most visited and steepest mountains in the country
  • Mount Zhongnan (终南山)
  • Mount Taibai (太白山)
  • Lishan (郦山)

Major museums

  • Terracotta Army Museum
  • Shaanxi History Museum
  • Hanyang Tomb Museum, the 1st modern underground museum in China, opened in 2006
  • Forest of Steles (Xi'an beilin)
  • Xi'an Museum: October 20, 2006, international council of monuments sites (ICOMOS) international protection center (IICC) was formally established here

National parks

  • Mount Cuihua, National Geological Park, Xi'an (西安翠华山国家地质公园)
  • Lishan National Forest Park, Xi'an (西安骊山国家森林公园)
  • Zhuque National Forest Park, Xi'an (西安朱雀国家森林公园)
  • Mount Zhongnan National Forest Park, Xi'an (西安终南山国家森林公园)
  • Mount Taibai National Forest Park (太白山国家森林公园), Mount Taibai lies both in Xi'an (西安) and Baoji (宝鸡)
  • Wang Shunshan National Forest Park, Xi'an (西安王顺山国家森林公园)

Other parks


Cuju is a very old football game:

It was improved during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). First of all, the feather-stuffed ball was replaced by an air-filled ball with a two-layered hull. Also, two different types of goalposts emerged: One was made by setting up posts with a net between them and the other consisted of just one goal post in the middle of the field. Chang'an was filled with cuju football fields, in the backyards of large mansions, and some were even established in the grounds of the palaces. The level of female cuju teams also improved. Records indicate that once a 17-year-old girl beat a team of army soldiers. Cuju football became popular amongst the scholars and intellectuals, and if a courtier lacked skill in the game, he could pardon himself by acting as a scorekeeper.

Professional sports teams in Xi'an include:

Xi'an is also the Chinese Boxing training base for the national team.


Television and radio

  • China Central Television's channel 1 through 12 is broadcast nation wide.
  • Shaanxi Television (SXTV) provincial station, broadcasts on eight channels as well as a satellite channel for other provinces.
  • Xi'an Television (XATV) municipal station, has six channels for specialized programming.
  • Shaanxi Radio broadcasts music, news.
  • Xi'an Music Radio: FM 93.1, broadcasts music, news and talkshows.
  • Shaanxi Music Radio: Fm 98.8, broadcasts music, news and talkshows.

Printed media

  • Chinese Business View (华商报) is a popular daily newspaper.
  • Xi'an Evening News (Xi'an Wanbao) (西安晚报), with a history of 50 years (1957–2007), is one of the oldest newspapers.
  • Sanqin Daily (三秦都市报) covers the news of Shaanxi Province.
  • Shaanxi Daily (陕西日报) covers the news of Shaanxi Province and Xi'an.
  • China Grooves is a free English magazine for expats

Online media

  • NEW DYNASTY - Digital City Guide and Lifestyle Magazine (新潮) is a popular multilingual e-Mag in Xi'an.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Xi'an's sister cities are:


  • South Korea Gaoxin International, Keji Road, September 2007
  • Thailand Yulang International, Jiefang Road, 2006

Colleges and universities

Xi'an is a renowned academic centre with the second highest number of institutions in the country, after Beijing.[citation needed]


National (other)


7 西北大学         陕西省   西安市 本科

8 延安大学         陕西省   延安市 本科

  • Yan'an University (延安大学Yan'an)

9 西安理工大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an University of Technology (西安理工大学)

10 西安建筑科技大学     陕西省   西安市 本科

11 西安科技大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an University of Science and Technology (西安科技大学)

12 西安石油大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Petroleum University (西安石油大学)

13 西安工程大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

14 西安工业大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Technological University (西安工业大学)

15 西安外国语大学      陕西省   西安市 本科

16 陕西科技大学       陕西省   咸阳市 本科

17 西安邮电学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Institute of Post & Telecommunications (西安邮电学院)

18 陕西中医学院       陕西省   咸阳市 本科

19 西安医学院        陕西省   西安市 本科

20 渭南师范学院       陕西省   渭南市 本科

21 榆林学院         陕西省   榆林市 本科

22 陕西理工学院       陕西省   汉中市 本科

23 咸阳师范学院       陕西省   咸阳市 本科

24 宝鸡文理学院       陕西省   宝鸡市 本科

25 西安财经学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an University of Finance and Economics (西安财经学院)

26 西北政法大学       陕西省   西安市 本科

27 西安体育学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Physical Education Institute (西安体育学院)

28 西安美术学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts (西安美术学院)

29 西安音乐学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Conservatory of Music (西安音乐学院)

31 西安文理学院       陕西省   西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Institute of Arts and Science (西安文理学院)

32 安康学院         陕西省   安康市 本科

37 商洛学院         陕西省   商州市 本科

Private(Administrated by Provincial Department of Education)

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

33 西安培华学院       省教育厅  西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Peihua University (西安培华学院)

34 西安欧亚学院       省教育厅  西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Eurasia University (西安欧亚学院)

35 西安外事学院       省教育厅  西安市 本科

  • Xi'an International University (西安外事学院)

36 西安翻译学院       省教育厅  西安市 本科

  • Xi'an Fanyi University (西安翻译学院)

30 西京学院         省教育厅  西安市 本科

38 *Xi'an Siyuan University (西安思源学院)

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.


  • Air force Engineering University (空军工程大学,1999年由空军电讯工程学院、空军工程学院、空军导弹学院合编组成)
  • The Fourth Military Medical University (第四军医大学) Ω
  • The Second Artillery Engineering University of People's Liberation Army (解放军第二炮兵工程学院)
  • (PLA) XI’AN Telecommunication College (解放军西安通信学院)

See also: List of universities in the People's Republic of China.

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Xi'an". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  2. ^ It is also called "Sianfu" by many Western authors in the early 20th century. For example, the Catholic Archdiocese of Xian used to be called the Vicariate Apostolic of Sianfu. Adolf S. Waley, The Re-making of China, New York: EP Dutton and Company, 1914.
  3. ^ a b c "Xi'an". Encarta. 1993-2008. 2008-09-03. 
  4. ^ Ernest Frank Borst-Smith, Caught in the Chinese revolution: A record of risks and rescue, published by T.F. Unwin, 1912.
  5. ^ NTSC
  6. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Xi'an". 
  7. ^ a b c d "西安人口 (Xi'an population)". City of Xi'an, in Chinese. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  8. ^ People's Daily
  9. ^ Bureau of Commerce of Xi'an Municipal Government
  10. ^ "Xi'an to Host World Horticultural Expo"
  11. ^ a b c "Xi'an". The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition..;_ylt=At3nAwvWC5EERYXlnVrZdC9Vt8wF. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  12. ^ "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr Destrict". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. 

Nanfang Daily - 21 century business herald

External links

Preceded by
Capital of China (as Hao)
1046 BC-771 BC
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Capital of China (as Chang'an)
206 BC-23
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Capital of China (as Daxing)
Succeeded by
itself, as Chang'an
Preceded by
itself, as Daxing
Capital of China (as Chang'an)
Succeeded by

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Xian article)

From Wikitravel

The Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors

Xian (西安 Xī'ān, pron. SHEE-ahn), is a historic city in Shaanxi Province in China.


Xi'an has a 6,000-year history and was known as Chang'an in ancient times.

During 1,000 years, the city was capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi'an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties. With so much history within the ground the city lies upon, it is no wonder that there are so many historical ruins, museums, and cultural relics to be found here. Even before the lives of Christ, Mohammad, and Siddhartha, Xi'an was a world class city! It was already influencing the world outside of the Great Wall of China as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road(丝绸之路). Here traders from far and wide brought goods and ideas for sale and took goods and ideas back with them to their native countries. In present day Xi'an not much of its former glory remains within the city confines. Sadly this is due to the constant warfare and political changes that swept China particularly throughout the 2Oth Century. However, this clean and modern city has a pleasant cosmopolitan flare to it and it is worth visiting for the famed Terracotta Warriors alone. It has often been said that, "if you have not been to Xi'an, you have not been to China!"

Get in

By plane

Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY) is located 40 km northwest of the city centre, in Xianyang. Flights are available to Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dunhuang, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, Hohhot, Kunming, Lhasa, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Urumqi, Wuhan, and Xining within China, International flights are available to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul as well as Nagoya, Fukuoka, Niigata, Tokyo and Hiroshima in Japan, and Singapore via Kunming. Being strategically located in the heartland of China, it takes no more than 2 hours to fly to any major Chinese cities.

Most people use taxis or the airport bus to reach town from the airport, however taking a taxi is not recommended, as most taxi drivers will raise the price for non-local tourists. A taxi will cost about 100rmb from the airport to downtown(Bell Tower). The airport bus leaves every half-hour from 6AM to 6PM, a ticket is 25rmb and takes about one hour. As long as there is an arriving flight, there will be a bus, so don't worry about arriving late at night or early morning. The airport bus route is the best way between city and the train station. The Bell Tower is in the exact city centre, and is the most convenient starting point to go anywhere in the city.

Getting to the terracotta warriors from the airport is quite the process but can be done. Immediately when you walk out of the airport you can take bus #2 (¥27)to the train station. The train station is extremely crowded and English is hardly, if at all spoken. When looking at the train station, go to the right and catch bus 306, also called Tourist Bus #5 (¥8). There are many fake public buses, so make sure you only take #306! The last stop is the terracotta warriors. To get back to the airport simply take the same exact route in reverse. Alternatively, taking taxi will costs you approx ¥85 plus toll charges of ¥15.

By train

There are plenty of trains transporting passengers to and from most of the major cities inside China. Located at the center of China, it often takes one day to travel from Xi'an to other cities by train. Keep in mind train tickets usually cannot be booked unless you are doing so very far in advance. Traveling hard class means you will share a space with up to three other locals. You will most likely encounter non-stop smoking, loud noise, and constant activity in the aisle while you try to sleep. Do not travel hard class if you are uncomfortable with these things. Xian Station is at the north end of Jiefang Road (解放路).

Approximate journey times to other major cities:

Beijing 11-13 hours, Chengdu 13-18 hours, Chongqing 14 hours, Guangzhou 24 hours, Kunming 36-53 hours, Lanzhou 8-10 hours, Lhasa 36 hours, Shanghai 16-20 hours, Urumqi 31-56 hours, Wuhan 14-18 hours and Zhengzhou 7 hours.

In Xi'an, it is very easy for one to get to the railway station by city bus from anywhere in the city. But please be aware that there are several stops around the station. Fortunately, all of them are no more than 200 meters from the station.

By bus

The main long-distance bus station is located across from main railway station.

Approximate journey times to major local cities:

Huashan 2-3 hours, Lanzhou 8-10 hours, Luoyang 5-7 hours, Taiyuan 12 hours and Zhengzhou about 9-12 hours.

By car

Traffic is heavy, right of way is unheard of, and the rule of thumb is "keep going no matter what" (although drivers do note red lights).

Bell Tower (钟楼 Zhonglou)
Bell Tower (钟楼 Zhonglou)

Get around

The city is surrounded by a city wall, in its middle the Bell Tower (钟楼 Zhōnglóu). From this one, the four main streets descend into the four points of the compass.

  • North-Street (北大街 Běidàjiē).
  • East-Street (东大街 Dōngdàjiē).
  • South-Street (南大街 Nándàjiē).
  • West-Street (西大街 Xīdàjiē).

Do not get confused by different names in tourist guides, addresses and bus stops: Nandajie, Nanda-Street, South-Street, South-Avenue are all the same.

Locals often speak about Within city walls and Outside city walls when talking about locations. Outside the walls, the southern part is the most interesting, it offers shopping streets, bars and some nightlife.

There are plenty of buses departing everywhere in short-intervals (main lines every 5-10 minutes). If you are not confident enough with orientation, or if you do not like packed buses, the cheap taxis are the best alternative, broadly available, except for during rush hours.

By train/subway

As of June 2007, Xi'An has broken ground on the North/South line; the first line. Officials claim it will take one year to build and once the North/South line is built, they will build an East/West line which is projected to take another year. Once North/South and East/West are completed (2009), a beltway is planned around the outside of the city.

As of June 2009 subway was still not available. Current plans have the first subway line scheduled to finish in 2011.

Bus 306 To Terracotta Warrior Museum
Bus 306 To Terracotta Warrior Museum

By bus

There are many buses leaving regularly for the Terracotta Warrior museum in front of the Xi'an bus station (opposite the train station, just outside the city walls).

(1) Bus 306 (Chinese bus green 5) from the central bus station. It will take you to a parking lot right in front of the museum site within 40 minutes. A one way ticket costs ¥8.

(2) Small buses which are used by the locals. These buses will also take you to the Museum however they go through local small roads (no highway express like Bus 306) therefore it will take longer to arrive. Not a bad trip if you want to see the local bumpy rural roads.

(3) Alternatively, most hostels run tours to the warriors with an English speaking guide. These aren't necessarily better, be prepared to spend a good portion of the day (as with any Chinese tour) visiting "terracotta factories," "museums", "Chinese medicine shops", and other tourist traps. But, you will get to your destination without dealing with the bus (the warriors are quite far outside of town) and not all of the public buses that go there are legitimate. However, sticking with the 306 bus (a nice coach with 306 in parenthesis), and riding it to the end of the line is your best and cheapest bet.

Regular buses within the city cost ¥1 (¥2 for air-conditioned, marked with a snow-flake) no matter how far you go.

By taxi

Watch the taxi drivers in Xi'an as the industry is not regulated as it is in other larger cities like Beijing. You may find yourself being taken on a long ride around town to get where you are going. It can also be difficult to convince them to take you anywhere (even to the railway station), if in doubt get your hotel or hostel to write down the place you want to go in Chinese. Trips within the city walls are generally around ¥10, longer trips to the attractions south of the city are ¥12-20. Especially when you take a longer ride, like to or from the airport, it is always good advice to insist on using the taxi meter.

The rate for the normal (green) taxis is ¥6 for the first two kilometers and then ¥1.5 for every additional kilometer. Waiting times longer than 2 minutes will be charged ¥1.5 per minute. After 11PM the starting price is ¥7. At the airport and around some of the big hotels you might also find black taxis. They charge ¥2.4 per kilometer, but are more spacious and comfortable.

By bike

Fortunately Xi'an's main sites (with the notable exception of the Terracotta Warriors) are bunched fairly close together, so renting a bike is a good option. Be wary of the narrow streets and cars that squeeze you out of the way. Bike lanes are availbable, making it somewhat safer than driving in the direct lane of traffic.

Shop in the Muslim Street
Shop in the Muslim Street
Kites Flying at XiAn street
Kites Flying at XiAn street


Inside the city

  • City Wall of Xi'an. As the world's largest city wall, the Xi'an city wall has been restored and is wide enough to easily ride 5 bikes across. You can hire one at the top of the South or East gate; you must return it where you got it, but beware bikes will not be rented if there is any chance of rain, because the top of the wall becomes slippy. Check the weather forecast before you buy a ticket to enter the wall. If you want to foot it though, a complete loop of the walls takes approximately 3 hours. The landscaped park around the base of the exterior walls and moat also makes for a pleasant stroll and gives a different perspective on the battlements and towers. There is a small museum inside the city walls at Hanguang Gate, about halfway between the southwest corner and the South Gate, accessible from the top of the city wall itself. Look for a staircase down inside a covered structure. Inside are the unrestored remains of a gatehouse and a calligraphy collection. The wall is lit up at night and makes for a pleasant stroll. The present city wall was built in the Ming dynasty on the foundation of the Chang'an Imperial city wall of Tang dynasty. ¥40, ¥20 if you have student card (Apr 09)].  edit
  • Shaanxi Provincial Museum (陕西历史博物馆; Shǎnxī Lìshǐbówùguǎn; also known as Shaanxi History Museum). This museum houses a collection of local artefacts that span the entirety of the province's history from the Neolithic through the Qing dynasty. In particular it contains fabulously well preserved pottery from nearby BanPo neolithic village (also worth a visit) and many excellent Shang dynasty bronzes. Although some guidebooks call it "one of the best museums in China", its old fashioned pots-and-arrowheads-behind-glass format may appeal mainly to enthusiasts, though they also feature some well-made but glorifying high-definition movies in the exhibition halls. Arrive early to avoid crowds and to get one of 1000 free tickets each day (bring your passport). ¥35 in winter, ¥50 in summer.  edit
  • Forest of Steles (西安碑林; Xīānbēilín), (Just inside the southern city wall, near the Wenchang Gate). This collection of 2,300 stone tablets (many written to provide an "official text" of the Chinese classics) and epitaphs is the largest and oldest of its kind in China. This includes the famous Nestorian Stele, dating back to the 7th century. It depicts the coming of Nestorian Christianity to China. The Nestorian Stele is in Showroom Number 2 and is the first stele on the left.  edit
  • Wolong Temple, (One block North and East of the Forest of Steles museum). This active Buddhist temple dates back to 200BC. Recently restored the temple is vibrant and busy.  edit
  • Big (Wild) Goose Pagoda (大雁塔; Dàyàntǎ), (At Ci'en Temple, take bus 41 or 610 from the main train station). Built by Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) in 652AD. Emblem of the city of Xi'an. In the fountain in front of the pagoda there is a very nice water and music show sometimes during the day with plesant parks and western eateries nearby. RMB25 to enter the temple complex, another RMB20 to enter the pagoda.  edit
  • Little (Wild) Goose Pagoda (小雁塔; Xiǎoyàntǎ), (At Jianfu Temple). Completed in 709AD. To enter you will have to buy a fairly expensive joint ticket with the adjoining Xi'an Museum (¥50, June 09).  edit
  • Bell Towers (钟楼; Zhōnglóu), (In the exact center of the city). ¥27 (or ¥40 including Drum Tower).  edit
  • Drum Tower (鼓楼; Gǔlóu), (Just to the northwest within the Muslim Quarter). ¥27 (or ¥40 including Bell Tower).  edit
Busy Muslim Street
Busy Muslim Street
  • Grand Mosque (清真寺; Qīngzhēnsì), (Behind Drum Tower). Built in a perfect mixture of Islamic and Chinese architecture styles with seating for 1,000 worshipers and the Muslim Street district (回民街 Huímín Jiē) around it. It is famous as the very first mosque ever to be built in China. It can be quite difficult to find through the winding back streets but is very well known to locals. Only muslims are permitted entry to the actual mosque but there is plenty to see in the many accompanying courtyards. Ladies are ask to cover up with a scarf according to muslim tradition.  edit
  • Eight Immortals Temple (八仙宫; Bāxiāngōng). An active Daoist temple built for the famous Eight Immortals, including the Eight Immortals Bridge, lots of steles in the walls with text and illustrations, and multiple worship halls.  edit
Taiping National Park
Taiping National Park
Xiangyu Forest Park
Xiangyu Forest Park

Outside the city

  • Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑; Bīngmăyŏng), (A short distance away from the Qinshihuang Mausoleum, it is the last stop of bus 306). This mighty army of terracotta warriors and horses, found in three vaults, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction of Shaanxi and one of the most popular in all of China. An in-site museum has been built over these pits, covering a floorspace of 20,000 square meters and displaying 8,000 life-like terracotta warriors, 100 or so chariots, and 30,000 weapons. The assemblage has been billed by the tourist industry as the Eighth Wonder of the World and a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. ¥90, bring a student ID for half-price.  edit
  • Banpo Village Ruins. 6,000 year old ruins of a village site including the residential and pottery-making areas, ancient tools, as well as a burial ground. Visit also the Shaanxi Provincial Museum to see the best examples of the pottery found at Banpo.  edit
  • Famen Temple. This Buddhist temple, which records mention as far back as 67AD, contains a 13-storied brick pagoda as part of the monastery. This pagoda fell down in the rain in August, 1981 and revealed a 1000 year old underground vault full with 2,400 treasures belonging to the Tang and previous dynasties given as offerings. These included gold and silver utensils, glazed wares, porcelains, pearls, precious stones and textiles, as well as religious items. The biggest treasure is a finger bone of Buddha offered to the Emperor of China during the Tang dynasty.  edit
  • Huaqing Palace (华清池; Huáqīngchí), (First stop of bus 306). Built by the Tang emperor Xuanzong near hot springs at the foot of Li Shan in Lintong County so he could frolic with his favoured Imperial Lady Yang to his heart's content. It is possible to take hot baths inside. ¥70, hot bath ¥30.  edit
  • Mao Ling Mausoleum. The tomb of the fifth emperor of the Han Dynasty, includes many stone carvings.  edit
  • Qinshihuang's Mausoleum, (Third stop (second for the museum) of bus 306 before the Terracota Warriors). Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China. You can visit the surrounding gardens and mountains, but you can not get inside the mausoleum. There is a low quality museum with a reconstruction of the Mausoleum. Taking pictures in the dimly lit museum is forbidden, although staff will not control it too much. Mausoleum ¥40, museum ¥15.  edit
  • Qian Ling Mausoleum. The only shared tomb of the first empress of China Wu Zetian, and her husband Emperor Tang Gaozong of Tang Dynasty.  edit
  • Taiping National Park, (44km southwest of Xi'an, north slope of Qinling Mountain). Famous for its waterfall and the largest area of wild Zijing flower (the city flower of Hong Kong) in north China.  edit
  • Xiangyu Forest Park, (36.9km south of Xi'an, north slope of Qinling Mountain).  edit
  • Hua Mountain, (About 2.5 hours outside of Xi'an). This is one of China's sacred mountains. Very beautiful misty mountain where you can climb steep stairs while holding on to chain railings for support. There are many tours that drive to the Mountain, just be aware that half of the time you will be stoping for jewelry, Chinese medicine, etc. Worthwhile if you get a nice coach.  edit
  • Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, (Near the airport). Han dynasty tomb containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures. The excavation site has a glass floor so that you can look down on the ongoing excavations and is definitely worth a visit (although is best done as part of a journey to or from the airport).  edit
  • Hui Muslim Quarter, Huimin Street (回民街; Huímínjiē). Walk through the Muslim quarter sampling food and buying souvenirs.  edit
  • Walk the City Walls. Walk along the city walls and see the South Gate (南门; Nánmén), which is illuminated at night.  edit
  • Bike the City Walls. Bicycling around the city walls will take about 2 hours. Bicicle can be rented on East and South Gates for 100 minutes, ¥20 per person, and it has to be returned to the same deposit where it was taken. Remember to take your passport with as a deposit for the bike that you rent, or at least ¥200. Make sure that you keep the deposit ticket, the bike vendor will not give you the deposit back without it!  edit


Native English speakers can easily find jobs teaching English.



Xi'an souvenirs include small copies of terracotta warriors, wood-carved Buddhas and dragons, Tang Tricolored Pottery, hand made paper cut (by many regarded as the most important arts form in Xi'an), all other kind of folk art and also fake western products.

  • Terracotta Warriors. If you are visiting the Terracotta Warriors, be prepared to meet some of the most hardcore hawkers you are likely to meet anywhere. If you keep quiet, they will usually bargain themselves down in front of you in desperate pleas for your money. Buy a 15 cm Terracotta warrior for ¥5-10 even if they offer it to you for ¥45. Wood-carved Buddhas and Dragons for about the same. They are fortunately kept at a distance from the actual site. Many travelers report enjoying this experience. It is definitely not a reason to avoid seeing the Terracotta Warriors. The exit from the pit areas to the parking lot leads through long avenues lined with souvenir stalls and shops. The barkers will try to get your business, but are not as aggressive as the touts at the entrance or immediate exits.  edit
  • Bazaar Area, (Behind the Drum Tower in the Muslim Quarter around the Great Mosque). The best place to buy souvenirs in the city center is the bazaar area. The seller usually offers you a very high price, and even if you bring them down by 50%, they will still make a big profit. This is also a good place to buy folk art, specifically folk style block prints in a single shop which go for about ¥50 if you can stand bargaining when the older gentleman artist himself is standing right there. This area is also full of fake name-brand products like watches, bags, clothes. Bargain hard.  edit
  • Calligraphy Street, (Near South Gate inside the city wall towards the east, walking down South Street on the left side, continue to where the road splits in front of South Gate and turn left to find the entrance gate next to a small pagoda, midway do a slight dog leg to the right, at the far end is the Forest of Steles). This is another souvenir shopping area. Less hectic than the Muslim Quarter.  edit
  • Tang Tricolored Pottery Factory. Tang Tricolored Pottery is a style that was lost and has now been recreated from pieces of pottery found in tombs. It is graphic in image and eye-pleasing in color. The factory recreating the style offers over 100 varieties of items, like statues, animals, and utensils.  edit


Xi'an is a great place to buy clothes.

  • East Street (Dong Dajie), (The eastern of the four big streets descending from the central Bell Tower). Has regular fashion shops.  edit
  • South Street (Nan Dajie). Has finer clothes and shoes (e.g. Louis Vuitton).  edit
  • Baihui Market (百汇市场), (In Xiaozhai (小寨), ¥10 by taxi from the city center). Local youngsters shop here. It is one of those fake-brand markets. Sport shoes should be less than ¥150, pullovers and nice jeans sometimes less than ¥100, lots of cheap fashion accessories. This is also a great place for DVDs and CDs but understand these are mostly pirated copies.  edit
  • Kangfu Road, (Outside the east city wall, straight through the Northeast Gate). A great place for a bargain. Nothing is (bargained for) over ¥50 and most clothes can be bargained down to about ¥20 if you are really aggressive. But this place is full of poor quality stuff.  edit
  • Shi Da Lu. A trendy place to shop in a largely student populated area in the south of the city. Shi Da Lu has lots of hair salons, and clothing botiques.  edit
  • Century Ginwa. This luxury shopping mall has two locations in Xi'an. One downtown by the Drum Tower, the other in Gao Xing on Ke Ji Lu.  edit
  • English Language Bookstore, 349 East Street (Difficult to find, go into Lining Sports Store, then go up to the 3rd floor and you will find the bookstore through a door at the back). Good selection of guide books, maps, Chinese language study books, modern and classic novels.  edit


Xi'an specialties include:

  • Yang Rou Pao Muo is one of the signature dishes of the area, it consists of a piece of bread and a kettle of lamb soup. The diner shreds the bread with his hands and places the shreds in a bowl, the soup is then poured over the shreds. The trick is to shred the bread into pieces that are as small as possible. Most first-timers will shred their bread in pieces that are too large. Tong Sheng Xiang Restaurant is recommended.
  • Biang Biang Mian is a local provincial specialty noodle dish that is extremely good. The wide noodles are spiced, have a broth, and include toppings such as eggs, tomatoes, beef, etc. The character for "biang" isn't yet possible to type into a computer, but look for a complex character with about 57 strokes repeated twice before "面". A popular chain has a red sign with white characters, and includes the face of the "Noodle King".
  • Rou Jia Mo is the closest thing to a beefburger, this is a local tradition and should be very easy to locate, sandwich like, with pork, beef or lamb, this is a must try item for anyone who is in this area.
  • Xiao long bao-zi are basket-steamed dumplings (one basket ¥3), common as a midnight snack. Look for its big brother "Da bao-zi" only available first thing in the mornings, like a steamed cornish pastie, but very nice.
  • Guan Tang bao-zi are steamed buns served with sauces inside.

Some good places to look for restaurants are:

  • The Muslim Quarter close to the Drum Tower is a vibrant area with many restaurants spilling out onto the street and mixing with the street sellers.
  • Street food (mostly sold after sunset, or some near night clubs/bars after 11PM) presents a variety of local/regional dishes, ranging from noodle soups, dumplings, hot pot, and so on by tens of little food vendors on street side, each with a red lamp.


A good way if you do not want the expensive hotel food or just want to try real Chinese cuisine, is to simply go into a small restaurant and point to a dish somebody else is having and you will get a meal for less than ¥10 (seldom ¥20) per person.

A good street for eating is Xiyang Shi running east-west near the mosque in the Muslim quarter.

  • Wen Xin Jiaozi Guan (温馨饺子馆), 123 Xushimiao Street (Next to the Good World Hotel, off of Lian Hu Lu). A good cheap place for jiaozi (Chinese dumplings). There is no menu, but endless supplies of fresh jiaozi of many flavors. From ¥4-5 a bowl.  edit
  • Lao Sun Jia, G/F Dong Dajie. Has fantastic yangrou paomo which is very cheap but flavoursome. No English spoken but easy to communicate with sign language!  edit


McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC or its Chinese brother, Dicos, are widely available within city walls for a change from the daily Chinese cuisine. There are also three Starbucks within a 5-minute walk of the Bell Tower.

  • Highfly Pizza (高飞), (Down the right hand street after coming out of South Gate (南门)). Real pizza and other western food.  edit
  • Green Molly Restaurant & Pub (绿茉莉), (200m north of Ginwa Shopping Center on the intersection of Gaoxin Road and Keji Road (西安市高新区高科大厦副楼一层 (世纪金花商场后门向北200米路东))), +86 29 81883339. 10AM-11PM. A restaurant where you can indulge in the tastes of home, whether that be in the US, Europe or even Mexico. The restaurant owns only the second authentic pizza oven in Xi'an. Downstairs, the first and only real pub in Xi'an has a wide selection of beverages ranging from imported beers to wine and delicious cocktails.  edit
  • Small World Cafe, Huancheng Nanlu Dongduan 90# (Outside Jian Guo Gate). Run by a Dutch women. Great European cafe feel. Good food. Pizza, salad, fried chicken and real cake.  edit
  • Delhi Darbar (新德里餐厅), Dayanta West Road (雁塔区大唐通易坊东头路北) (Directly west of the Big Goose Pagoda on a street full of upscale bars and restaurants). Authentic North Indian food run by a wonderful Indian manager. Service is good, food is devinely delicious, and prices are very affordable. Mango Lassi for only ¥10 is a must have. Average meal price is about ¥40 per person. Highly Recommended.  edit
  • Village Cafe. A nice urban cafe on Shi Da Lu that offers burgers, steaks, and all sorts of drinks and desserts. From 30- 60 Yuan per person.  edit
  • Lumina Bar. A new modern bar on Xing Qing Bei Lu, on the third floor of the Heitze Hotel (兴庆北路219号海景酒店3楼). Offers a limited buffet in the restaurant, but has a range of imported beers, as well as one of the biggest cocktails lists in the city. Also has a free pool table, KTV, and Majong rooms, as well as regular live acts. Open 5 - late. ===Splurge=== * La Seine, Nandajie (南大街) (Near Bell Tower). French style restaurant.  edit  edit
  • Tang Paradise Hotel, (Near the Wild Goose Pagoda in the Qujiang Resort of Xian). Dinner Show in a large 165 acres theme park. The charm lies in that all the buildings in the park are built in the luxurious style of the Tang Dynasty. The best time to visit is at night when most of the shows, including fireworks and dances, are performed.  edit
  • Koi, Sofitel on Ren Min square. Japanese cuisine.  edit


Night clubs in Xian are not abundant since the hip-hop culture is not popular in the city. All clubs play the same music, a mix of Chinese disco and some pop music, but it might change slowly in future. But for now, don't expect latest chart-toppers or hip-hop music. Most people go out between 10PM and 1AM, but clubs are generally open until 4AM.

In summer time, the area around South Gate (南门) is beautiful. East of it are three nice bars with terraces and gardens.

Along the short Nandajie (南大街) are the most clubs (you can also eat on the street as there are restaurants open past midnight).

  • MIX, (Big light ad). Rather nice places to sit and drink.  edit
  • Palando. Rather nice places to sit and drink.  edit
  • Night Cat. Dance floor, some foreigners and OK-DJs.  edit
  • Kulala. Dance floor.  edit

Other options include:

  • 1+1, Dongdajie (东大街) (In the middle of the street). Remains one of the most popular clubs and definitely the most popular amongst foreigners. The club has 2 dance floors: first floor is mostly J-pop music, second floor is mostly hip-hop. There is a relaxed open air bar on the 5th floor which has live music every night.  edit
  • Salsa (莎莎; Shasha), West Street. Is probably the most popular club. This club is your best bet on Fridays and Saturdays however yi-jia-yi is more consistent during the week. The dance floor, while smaller than yi-jia-yi's, is usually less crowded, so you have a bit more room to dance.  edit
  • Off-road Tea Bar, Jiefang Road (800 meters south direct to Xi'an Railway Station). Has been checked by Goofle Business. Here, one could enjoy the fresh green tea in Southern Shaanxi and could meet local cycling and trekking lover.  edit
  • Havana Bar, Renmin Square (In Sofitel Hotel). Has a Colombian band and does good cocktails.  edit


As with most Chinese cities several cheap run down hotels can be found near the train station. There are a few decent ones inside the city walls on a road called Jie Fang Lu going directly south from train station. Bargaining is possible especially if you are staying for more than one night. Expect to pay under ¥100 for a single room as getting a room for as low as ¥30 is possible.


There are six international youth hostels right in the center of the city, easy to find.

Booking on the Internet will usually save you money, prices start around ¥15.

  • 3e Hotels International, 54 Nandajie (located between the South Gate and the Bell Tower, right next door to a KFC on the West side of the street). An absolutely beautiful single room with all the fixings and free broadband internet is ¥154. A plus is that right outside the door is a real coffee shop!  edit
  • Backpax, Nandajie, the Prince Mansion building 9th floor. A quite luxurious hostel, owned and partially run by westerners, feels like something between a fancy bar and a middle-class hotel, very unique. Newly started up, the price is ¥25 per night, for a 6 bed dorm. (Reported as closed as of 28th July 2008)  edit
  • Bob's Guesthouse, 85 Huan Cheng Bei Lu Rd (just outside the city walls, a short walk from the train station), [1]. Doubles with en-suite bathroom for ¥100; dorms from ¥25 (summer 2006).  edit
  • Ludao Binguan, 80 XiBa Lu, (029) 87420308 (fax: +86 29 82101222). A nicer-than-average hotel and hostel. Dorm rooms are between ¥25-50, depending on the season and your bargaining skill. You can also get a reasonably nice hotel room for around ¥75, again depending on your bargaining skills. The manger Jim Beam is friendly.  edit
  • Hq Guesthouse in Xi'an, +86 13149250037, [2]. Small but cozy setup in a brand new apartment complex located by the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an. Perfect for families, couples and independent travellers of all ages. Free pickup, free internet. Doubleroom ¥150, Family Special: book your own wing! Private access to your own self contained 100 square meter apartment in the center of Xi'an!  edit
  • Xi'an Shuyuan International Youth Hostel, Xi Nanmen, (029)87287720 (fax: (029)87287721).  edit
  • Han Tang Inn Youth Hostel, 211 West Street, +86 29 87231126, 87287772, [3]. The hostel is in a 4 floor building and the guest are most of them foreigners. Bed prices vary depending on the website where you check it and depending if you book online or in person in the desk. Booking online in or in it is possible to get a bed for ¥10 on a 8 beds dormitory. Doubles with ensuited bathroom cost around ¥100. The hostel includes a bar on the fourth floor with TV, pool table, movies and three guitars. There is also three free computers for internet.  edit
  • Jiefang Fandian, 321 Jiefang Lu, (029)87698881 (fax: (029)87698882).  edit
  • Lijing Jiudian, 20 Xi Dajie, +86 29 87288731.  edit
  • Xian Central Serviced Apartments, Xihuamen Shizi, +86 15829031947. Xian central serviced apartments are more than 100 square meters. Very spacious, newly furnished, cozy, spotlessly clean and extremely central (about 1 minute walk to Muslim Quarter) in the center of Xi'an. Free pc and internet in every apartment and they even offer free use of mobile phone for guests to use in case you have any difficulties while out exploring the city  edit
  • Qingnianhui Binguan, 339 Dong Dajie, +86 29 87673002.  edit
  • Qindao Business Hotel, 100 Nan Guang Ji Jie (It is along Xi Dajie across from the Parkson Shopping Center and entrance to the Muslim Quarter), +86 29 87615888. This is a great option if you are visiting the city and want to be in the heart of things. From this location you can easily walk or take a taxi to most of the major sites in the city and it is right across the street from a main entrance to the Muslim Quarter. Free internet and cable TV in the rooms. A travel office and public computer available in the lobby. Complimentary breakfast at 4th floor restaurant of mediocre quality, but their regular menu items are quite good and the view from the balcony is great. Laundry service: 2 day turnaround ¥10 / item. Beware of the massage place on the 7th floor. It is nasty. 286RMB for a double room (2 people) and up.  edit
  • Grand Mercure on Renmin Square (西安豪华美居人民大厦), [4]. A heritage hotel, first opened in 1957, located in the grounds of Renmin Square, the hotel reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture, which is steeped in revolutionary history.  edit
  • Mercure on Renmin Square Xian (西安美居人民大厦), [5]. A heritage hotel, first opened in 1957, located in the grounds of Renmin Square, the hotel reflects the Sino Russian style of architecture, which is steeped in revolutionary history.  edit
  • Nanlin International Hotel, +86 29 87216000, [6]. Nanlin International Hotel is a four star hotel located in Xincheng District. It is just 3 km from Xi'an Railway Station and 40 km from Xianyang International Airport. While staying at this hotel, you might want to visit some of the famous tourist spots in Shaanxi, China namely the Bell Tower, City Wall of Xi'an, and Shaanxi History Museum. They offer air-conditioned rooms to all their guests. Each of their rooms are equipped with cable TV and free high-speed Internet access. Best rates on official website start at ¥287+.  edit
  • Xian Bell Tower Hotel (Zhonglou fandian), 110 Nan Dajie, +86 29 87600000 (fax: +86 29 87218767). The Bell Tower Hotel is at the heart of the Xi'an, facing the Bell Tower and the new Bell Drum Square.  edit
  • Grand Mecure at Renmin Square, (A few blocks north-east of the Bell and Drum Towers).  edit
  • Sofitel at Renmin Square, (A few blocks north-east of the Bell and Drum Towers).  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Xian (西安凱悅酒店), 158, Dong Dajie (At the corner of Dong Dajie and Heping Lu (和平路), 10 minutes walk from the Bell Tower), +86 29 87691234 (), [7]. 5 star hotel within the the historic City Wall, in the heart of shopping and entertainment area of Xi'an.  edit
  • Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel (金花豪生國際大酒店), 18 West Section, Huancheng South Road (60 minutes from Xi'an International Airport and 15 minutes from Railway station). This hotel is the fifth hotel managed by Howard Johnson International in China. Located close to the south gate and the famous shopping center, the South Avenue. Two tall modern architectural buildings are separated by a spacious and bright lobby. The center platform, where the piano stands, is surrounded by water and walled in by lotus-shaped crystal glass. It was opened in 2003 and has 324 rooms.   edit
  • Xian Golden Flower Hotel. Very popular 5 star hotel, 5 minutes taxi ride from the Bell tower. Luxury, large rooms with great views. Hotel has Swimming pool, Spa, three restaurants, lobby bar and shops. Double rooms can be had for US$160 per night.  edit
  • Sheraton Xian Hotel, 262 Feng Hao East Road, +86 29 84261888. The location of this hotel is not a good choice for tourists, because it is far from the scenic spot of the city. However, it is near the freeway and the airport.  edit
  • Xian Garden Hotel, 40 Yanyin Road, Yanta District, +86 21 61226688, ext 7800, [8]. Four-star hotel with a stunning imperial-inspired façade and 292 beautifully appointed rooms. Facilities include conference and banquet venues, three restaurants, and an indoor swimming pool.  edit

Stay safe

Xian is, like other Chinese cities, generally quite safe. Just watch out for pickpockets (usually children) in crowds.

Pickpockets are more common during holidays. Pickpocketing is more likely to happen on the bus and Muslim quarter,in the East Street (the most properous commercial street in Xian), and some of the more crowded resorts like the North Square of the wild goose pagoda where there is a fountain show every night. Keep an eye on your camera.


Look at the Beijing#Cope notes as they apply to Xi'an, too. Most importantly, take paper tissue with you to toilets.

Generally, Western style accommodation will have western toilets, whereas the very inexpensive guest house (zhao dai suo) will usually have squat toilets. If you need to use western toilets, learn to plan your day accordingly. Major tourist attractions will have western toilets.

If you arrive in Xi'an by train, try not to be overwhelmed when you exit Xi'an's train station. There are usually aggressive hotel touts looking for customers. Just insist that you already have a place to stay and tell them no, with a serious faced, 不要! / Bú yào!

It is a good idea to check your bags at the left luggage office and then go into town to look for accommodation. This way you will not be overwhelmed by the burden of carrying your heavy bags or luggage around.

  • Chen Lu Pottery. An hour and a half drive north of Xian, this community of potters has been producing pottery since the Tang dynasty and is well worth the look if pottery is your thing, private transportation recommended.
  • Hu Kou Waterfall (壶口瀑布 Húkǒu Pùbù). Located 150 km north of Xian, private transportation recommended; can be combined with a day trip to Huang Di Mausoleum. If arriving by public transportation, take note that as of 2008 there was only one bus returning to Xi'an from the waterfall. It departs around 10AM and must be flagged down as it does not stop.
  • Huashan National Park. Approximately 2 hours by train or bus east of Xian. Huashan is a 2000 metre mountain with spectacular views. It is possible to take the 2-3 hour (6 km) walk up or take the 10 minute cable car for ¥70. It is best to go for sun rise on the East peak. Take plenty of warm clothing for when the sun goes down. Basic accommodation is available, but can be quite pricey. Guesthouses with dormitory style lodging are available on the mountain.
Routes through Xian
LanzhouXianyang  W noframe E  SanmenxiaZhengzhou
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also xian, Xian, xiān, xián, xiǎn, and xiàn



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Chinese 西 (xī) and (ān) - "Western calm".


  • IPA: /ˈʃɪˈæn/
  • IPA: /ˈʃiːˈɑːn/

Proper noun




  1. a city in central China and the capital of Shaanxi province.


  • Sian former spelling
  • Chang'an name before Ming dynasty


Simple English

Xi'an is a city in China and the capital of the Shaanxi Province. It has a population of 2,670,000 in the city proper.[needs proof] The metro area has 6 million people.[1]



In past China it was the capital of 13 dynasties, including the Zhou dynasty, the [Qin dynasty], the Han dynasty, the Sui dynasty, and the Tang dynasty. It was the eastern end of the Silk Road and was where the terracota army was found inside the tomb of emperor Qin Shi Haung. Xi'an is regared as one of the most oldest capitals in the world history together with the other three Athens, Rome and Cairo.


Xi'an was called Chang'an in ancient times. In Classical Chinese it literally means "Perpetual Peace". But from 9 AD-23 AD, during the Xin dynasty, it was renamed "Constant Peace" (it is said the same way). By the time of the Ming Dynasty it had been named Xi'an (which means "Western Peace"). It was named Xi'an because was in the western part of the Ming Empire.

Political divisions

Xi'an Municipality is divided into 9 districts and 4 counties.

  • Beilin District
  • Yanta District
  • Weiyang District
  • Baqiao District
  • Xincheng District
  • Lianhu District
  • Chang'an District
  • Yanliang District
  • Lintong District
  • Lantian County
  • Zhouzhi County



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