There are many attractions in the Xi'an surrounding area.
One of the Five Holy Taoist Mountains, Mount Huashan has five peaks and many paths which allow good access to scenic view points.
The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi was constructed by the hands of some 700,000 men. The emperor ordered the construction of his mausoleum at the age of 13.
Temple of the Gateway to Dharma
The Famen Si temple complex - 10km/6mi north of the village of Fufeng, which itself is some 100km/60mi west of Xi'an - is famous for its pagoda, in which is kept one of Shakyamuni's finger bones. The bone was brought here on the instructions of the Tang Emperor Xianzong (806-821).The thirteen-story brick pagoda, 28m/92ft high, was rebuilt in 1988. It towers up in front of the main hall of the monastery which houses a statue of the Buddha. To the sides stand a bell-tower and a drum tower. On the façade of the main hall can be seen an inscription dated 978.Shakyamuni's finger bone, known to Buddhists as the ''Holy Bone'', and three copies of it (known as the ''Shadow Bones''), were discovered in April 1987 in an underground treasure chamber below the foundations of the previous pagoda from the year 1579. This palace, which had remained hidden for 1000 years, contained much valuable treasure from the Tang period (618-907), including numerous objects in gold, silver, semi-precious stones, jade or lacquer, many porcelain vessels and woven silks. In 1988 a museum was built here specially to house these finds.
This museum lies 4km/2.5mi east of Xi'an on a site where, in the 1950s, archaeologists unearthed a 6000 year-old village which had operated on a matriarchal structure. About 500 people would have lived in the village, which was surrounded by a ditch 6m/20ft wide and equally deep. The houses, all facing south, were square or round in plan and arranged around a large house 160sq.m/1720sq.ft in area. Corn and other supplies were kept in the store rooms. Adults would have been buried in graves outside the living area, while children were interred near the houses.Visitors can see the remains of 45 houses, 2 stables, more than 200 cellars, 6 kilns and about 250 graves. Tools and equipment made of stone, terracotta and bone have also been found. The pottery items, which are attributed to the Yangshao culture, are frequently decorated with fishes and have marks scratched on them which are probably the forerunners of a form of writing.
The twin peaks of Mount Lishan, 1200m/3940ft high, lie 26km/16mi east of Xi'an.Laojun Temple sits on top of the western peak. According to legend, it was here that the Tang Emperor Xuanzong swore everlasting devotion to his concubine.A pavilion rises up out of thick grass on the slope approaching the Huaqing Hot Springs. It was at this spot that on December 12th 1936 Chiang Kai-shek was taken prisoner by two of his officers and forced to join with the Communists in the struggle against the Japanese invaders.
Huaqing Hot Springs
The Huaqing Hot Springs (Huaqing Chi) are to be found 26km/16mi east of Xi'an at the foot of Mount Lishan in a large park containing a number of public baths and some modern palaces built in the Tang style. The hot springs, rich in minerals and with a temperature of 43°C (109°F), were highly regarded more than 3000 years ago. The Tang Emperor Xuanzong often spent the winter here in the company of his favorite concubine Yang Guifei. Soon, the imperial baths were destroyed. In the 1980s, the foundations and bath basins were excavated, and the original buildings in the style of the Tang period were rebuilt on top.
Ruins of Efang Palace
The ruins of the Palace of Efang lie 15km/9.5mi west of the city. They are the remains of part of a complex of buildings constructed on the orders of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC). Whenever the emperor defeated an enemy army, in the course of the unification of the empire, he would have a building erected here in the architectural style of the enemy country concerned. There are said to have been more than 270 such buildings; in 206 BC, however, an insurgent general reduced them all to ashes.Today a few ruins are all that remain of the once magnificent imperial palace - a terrace of compressed clay 20m/66ft high and 31m/100ft round, and a platform, also of compressed clay, 6m/20ft tall and 5m/16ft deep. These were probably the foundations of two of the 270 palace buildings.An archaeological find made in the 1970s proved very interesting to the experts. In the ruins of Palace No. 3 a row of wall-paintings were uncovered which depict a carriage and pair and soldiers on horseback. The tints of these 2000 year-old representations are incredibly fresh and full of life.
Mausoleum of Jing Di
In 1990, when constructing the road from Xi'an to the new airport, the builders stumbled upon the tomb of Jing Di (reigned 157-141 BC), the fifth ruler of the Han dynasty. It lies on a burial site of 9.6ha/24acres where more than 800 more graves were traced. Some 70,000 workers were forced to labor for 37 years to build the mausoleum.Investigations indicate that the mausoleum complex contains 24 graves in all. Eight of these have been unearthed and they contain 700 naked terracotta figures. These warrior figures, each about 60cm/2ft tall, have different facial expressions. They originally had moveable wooden arms which have rotted away and were dressed in silk uniforms. They are equipped with bronze weapons, and large stores of grain as well as various items in miniature have also been found, for example herds, corn-measures, arrowheads and other items for military and civilian use. It is not possible to visit the excavations, but some items are exhibited in the Historical Museum.