Xi’an in Brief

Xian, or Chang’an, is one of the four ancient capitals of the world, with the other three Rome, Athens and Cairo. Served as the capital city in 13 dynasties of ancient China, Xi’an came to be known as the cradle of Chinese civilization and Chinese history museum. Today’s Xian is the political, economic and cultural center of the northwest China. With the development of travel industry and the implementation of the open policy, it has become one of the nations key tourist cities and tourism has become the mainstay in Shaanxi’s economy.


Xi’an Geographic Features

Xian is located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River with the eight small rivers as the tributaries. It holds a key position in the fertile plain between the high loess plateau to the north and the Qinling Mountains to the south. The Qinling Mountain Range is an important geographical divide between northern and southern China and the major watershed of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. Xian covers an area of 16,808 sq km with the temperate and continental climate, cold and dry in winter, hot in summer and rainy season comes in July, August and September. It lies at 107°east longitude and 33°north latitude with the altitude of 412 meters. The annual mean temperature is 13C°with annual precipitation of 604 mm.



Xian has a population of six million with 3.5 million in urban area. People who inhabit here are mainly Han, Hun, Manchu and Mongols. There are more than 700,000 Hun inhabitants in Xian. Most of the natives speak local dialect which sounds similar to the mandarin. The government language is mandarin. The main religion in Xian is the Buddhism.



This city is the primer in Chinese history, as between 1,000 BC and 1,000AD it served as the imperial capital for 13 dynasties. This area has been the site of some of the oldest cities in the world’s oldest civilization. Its history begins in the Bronze Age, three thousand years ago, when the Western Zhou dynasty, known for their skilled bronze work, built their capital at Feng and Hao, a few miles west. When the Feng and Hao were sacked by northwestern tribes, the Zhou dynasty moved to Luoyang. In 221 BC the Emperor Qin Shi Huang (or the First Emperor of Qing Dynasty) unified China for the first time in the history and set its capital at Xianyang, just north of Xian. The successor, Han dynasty, also based in Xi’an, ruled from 206BC to 220AD. Near contemporaries of Imperial Rome, they ruled an empire of comparable size and power. Han dynasty was also the dynasty when the Silk Road was explored, with Xi’an the starting point. Later, Silk Road became one of the most important arteries of trade and culture in world history. It was not until 589AD that the Sui dynasty took office and built a new capital near Xian called Da Xing City – which means Great Prosperity City. The Tang dynasty, who replaced Sui in 618AD, took over the capital, overplaying it with them own buildings. In Tang dynasty, Chinese feudal society came to its peak and Xi’an was the typical represent. There were more than 1 million people who housed in the magnificent city whose city plan was so symmetrical that it was taken as a model for the building of many other Chinese cities and for the Japanese capital Nara, In 710.The Tang Dynasty period was a golden age for the arts, and ceramics, calligraphy, painting and poetry. After the fall of the Tang dynasty, Xian went into a long decline and lost its key position as the capital city. Although it was never again the imperial capital, it still played an important military role in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Now, as the policy of the Western Exploring, Xi’an became the bridge tower of Northwestern China.

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