Xi'an (西安) is not really a household name like Beijing or Shanghai, and until you start planning for your trip to China you may never have come across it before. But this city, whose name translates into Western Peace, is home to something you will most certainly have heard of before: the Terracotta Army. Xi'an is one of China's oldest cities, with a history dating back some 3000 years, it has been home to 13 dynasties and over 70 emperors. It is seen as the cradle of Chinese civilisation and served as the capital of the nation in the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties.
The main sight of interest here is obviously the Terracotta army, an enormous series of sculptures depicting the army of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It is located out of town, and nearby is the mausoleum of the emperor, a nice place for a stroll.
But the city of Xi'an itself is worth exploring as well. The magnificent city walls are the largest in the world and can be walked or cycled around on. In the middle of the area that it guards stands the imposing Bell Tower. Around are many other historical sights, think pagoda's, temples and towers.
The Bazaar Area is the city's Muslim Quarter, home to the Grand Mosque, and a nice place to shop for souvenirs and try great local food like Yangrou Paomo (a lamb soup with pita bread soaked into it). [Review by travelindicator]
- Xian is a city in China's region of Shaanxi. It has a population of 7,168,005, is situated at an altitude of 1263ft and the best airport to fly into is XIY (Xianyang, Xi An)
- The currency used in China is the Chinese yuan renminbi (RMB) (CNY)
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