Xi'an Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Xi'an
Capital of Shanxi ProvinceThe city lies on a major rail route which runs from Lianyungang on the Yellow Sea via Ürümqi in the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang and on to Kazakhstan.Xi'an is one of northwest China's chief textile centers, where cotton grown in the artificially irrigated paddy-fields in the neighboring countryside is treated and processed. Other major branches of industry are chemicals and engineering.It probably possesses more items of archaeological interest than any other town or city in China, the most important, of course, being the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, which attracted 1,700,000 domestic and foreign visitors in 1992.
Xi'an is a popular historic capital city in China that was popular with eleven dynasties who settled on it for the seat of their government. Many buildings were destroyed during the countless wars.
Pagoda of the Great Wild Goose
In company with that of the Small Wild Goose, the Pagoda of the Great Wild Goose is the second religious building to survive from the Tang period (618-907). It formed part of the Temple of Great Mercy and Goodness (Ci'en Si), built by Prince Li Zhi in the first half of the 7th C in honor of his mother. Originally the complex was much larger than the present-day one dating from the 16th C, and it offered accommodation to 300 monks. Three Buddha figures can be seen in the main hall.The Gaozong Emperor Li Zhi built the Pagoda in 652 in order to house more than 650 Buddhist writings which the monk Xuanzang had brought from India and later partially translated. Originally there were only five stories, but five more were added between 701 and 704. Later three stories were destroyed during hostile attacks, so today the pagoda has only seven floors and is 64m/210ft tall. It is constructed in rectangular sections which taper towards the top. Two stone plaques are let into the wall on either side of the entrance; these bear inscriptions by the Tang Emperors Taizong and Gaozong.
Historical Museum of Shaanxi Province
This modern museum to the northwest of the Pagoda of the Great Wild Goose is China's most important archaeological museum. It measures 44,000sq.m/474,000sq.ft in area and consists of several buildings containing a large number of rooms in which more than 3000 exhibits, displayed in seven chronologically arranged sections, illustrate the origins, achievements and flourishing of Chinese culture from prehistory to the Qing period (1368-1911). On display are bronze vessels from the Shang and Zhou period (16th-3rd C BC), porcelain from the Tang and Song era (7th-13th C), gold and silver jewelry from the Tang period (618-907), a rich collection of frescos from the tombs of Tang rulers which depict scenes from court life, and musical instruments. Evidence of trade with the west is provided in the shape of gold dishes, brooches and silver-plate from the Sassanid (Persian, AD 211-651) empire.
Pagoda of the Small Wild Goose
Town Walls from Ming Period
The town walls were built between 1368 and 1398. After extensive restorations they now encircle the inner town together with the moat, measuring 14km/9mi in circumference. Averaging 12m/40ft in height and 18m/60ft wide at the base, the wall is furnished with four gates and a large number of watch-towers and bastions.
The Mosque covers an area of 12,000sq.m/130,000sq.ft and lies about 300m/900ft to the northwest of Drum Tower, in a district inhabited mainly by the Moslem Hui minority. There is said to have been a mosque here back in the Tang period (618-907).The buildings comprises five courtyards with various buildings in traditional Chinese style but with Islamic decorative patterns. Built during the Ming period (1368-1644) the mosque still has a number of its original stelae. The prayer-hall in the main building will hold up to 1000 worshippers.
Celebration Park covers 50ha/125acres around a small lake in the east of the city. The modern buildings are modeled on the Tang period style (618-907), in memory of the magnificent residence which stood here 1300 years ago. In 714, when Li Longji, was crowned emperor, he had the residence converted into an imperial palace. Its name is thought to commemorate his accession to the throne.
The Bell Tower in the town center stands 36m/118ft high. It was originally built in 1384 on a site a little further west, and rebuilt here in 1582.Visitors can climb up inside as far as the penultimate floor from where they can enjoy a beautiful view of the city.
Temple of Daxingshan Si
The Temple of Daxingshan Si, to the south of the Pagoda of the Small Wild Goose, dates back to the 3rd C, but the present buildings are from the Ming and Qing period (1368-1911) and were restored in 1956. It was once an important Buddhist center, and Indians also lived here.
Further west from the Bell Tower stands the Drum Tower. It dates from 1370, is 33m/108ft high and stands on a rectangular brick base spanning a road so that the drum tower gives the appearance of a town gate.
Temple of the Town God
On Xi Dajie Street stands the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao), built in 1433. The main hall dates from 1723.
Forest of Stelae
In the former Confucius Temple east of the southern town gate of the old town is China's most important collection of stone tablets. This so-called ''Forest of Stelae'' consist of 3200 stone tablets of which 1700 are exhibited. The oldest date back about 2000 years. The main and largest part of the collection is made up of 114 tablets on which the Confucian canon was engraved in the year 837. Particularly well-known is the ''Nestorian Stela'', dating from 781. It documents the existence of a Christian community in the former Tang capital Chang'an.In the side-halls, monumental stone animals and tomb bas-reliefs from the Han and Tang periods (206 BC-AD 907) as well as Buddhist sculptures can be seen.