With a population of 6 million, Xian is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and has been since its founding in the 11th century BC. It’s also the chief base of industry in the province, a role that began 2000 years ago when it was established as the terminus of the Great Silk Road. In 138BC, Wudi, the Han emperor, sent emissaries to seek allies for the defence of China from the marauding Huns; this opened the trade routes to caravans carrying a wide range of goods. This transformed Xian into a melting pot of culture and religion, and it was home to monks, warriors, emperors, and poets alike.
Today, Xian still holds its historical treasures as markers of its past, interspersed among its modern cityscape for visitors to discover. Travellers can even follow the path that the trading caravans took from the Xian in the depths of China, to Kashgar near the former Soviet border.
Terracotta Warriors and Horses
This ongoing archaeological excavation, located 1.5 km East of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Shaanxi Province, is a seminal event of the 20th century, and a must see for any visitor to China. A museum has been built on the site of the emperor’s burial ground, the key features of which are the life-size statues of imperial soldiers and horses dating from the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).
Built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the Bell Tower was a defensive watchtower that indicates the military importance of Xian during the Ming Dynasty. At 36 metres in height, the wooden tower has a base of bricks and is topped with distinctive tiles with a dark green glaze; it marks the geographical centre of the ancient capital, from which the four main streets radiate to join the city gates.
An expansion of the Tang Dynasty wall (618-907AD) by Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Xian City Wall is one of the largest ancient military fortifications in the world, and the most complete surviving city wall in China. At 12 metres in height, ranging from 18 to 12 metres in depth, and with a length of 8.5 miles, the wall is an impressive site. It sports a rampart every 120 metres, each containing a sentry post, allowing archers to engage the enemy wherever they attacked.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Located in the southern suburb of Xian city and part of the Da C’ien Temple complex, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda was originally built in 652AD during the Tang Dynasty to house the extensive collection of the Buddhist translator, traveller, and hierarch Xuanzang. Partially destroyed and rebuilt over the following centuries, the pagoda has great significance within the Buddhist religion, and is home to sutras, statues, figures, and relics.
The Great Mosque was built in 742 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a product of the introduction of Islam by Arab merchants and travellers from Persia; these Muslims would go on to play an important role in the unifications of China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Unlike many mosques in China, the Great Mosque is open to visitors between 8am and 7.30pm, with restrictions around prayer times. Divided into four courtyards, the mosque covers 12,000 square metres and sits in beautifully landscaped gardens.
Han Yang Ling Mausoleum
Han Yangling mausoleum is the joint tomb of Emperor Jingdi of Han (188-141 B.C.), and his empress, situated on the Xianyang plateau in Shaanxi Province. From 1991 to October of 1994,large-scale archaeological excavations and studies of the Yangling Tomb were launched. From a site, which accounts for only one thirteenth of the total area of the sacrificial burial pits, about 600 color-painted pottery figurines and 4,000 pieces of various cultural relics were unearthed. The figurines included warriors escorting the imperial chariot, attendants watching over boxes and cases, cattle drovers and clerks. In 2006, museum above 14 of these pits have been opened, where clients can stand just above the pit which has be separated from tourists by glass panel in different environment.
Shaanxi History Museum
Shaanxi Province, is considered one of the birth places of Chinese culture, the capital of thirteen dynasties such as Zhou (1046 BC-256 BC), Han (202 BC-220) and Tang (618-907), and has its own unique history and cultural features. The Shaanxi History Museum in Xian, regarded as “the pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures”, gives a miniature overview of the thousands of years of Chinese history and the splendid ancient cultures of olden times.
The Shaanxi History Museum is the first modern national museum. It was built in 1983 and opened to the public in 1991. It covers 65,000 square meters (16 acres), of which 11,000 square meters (207 acres) belong to the exhibition halls and 8,000 square meters (about 2 acres) are used as warehouses for storing relics. Now 370,000 exhibits in the museum vividly show the history of over a million years from prehistoric times (1,150,000 years ago – 21st Century BC) to about 1840 AD.
Special Arrangement at the Terracotta Warriors Museum
For VIP access to these significant historical artefacts, we can provide a special arrangement with three options: descent to the lower terrace in Pit 1 to see the statues close-up; a visit to the restoration area where the warriors and horses are carefully refurbished before being displayed to the public; and an introduction to one of the archaeologists working on the dig.
Reception Atop the City Wall
This is an authentic welcome to the Crescent Fortification and the City Wall replete with Chinese tradition and culture. Guests will be greeted by officials dressed in Tang Dynasty costume, and led down the road of the Emperor to the ceremony square, where they will be met with chanting; the drawbridge falls and warriors in golden armour welcome the guests into the fortification and onto the wall.
The Tang Dynasty Palace
‘Tang Yue Gong’ in Chinese, the Tang Dynasty Palace is a unique dining experience that combines delicious cuisine with dancing from the Shaanxi Province Dance Troupe and music from a live classical Chinese orchestra. In an auditorium of 2,700 square metres, diners can experience the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of Chinese culture in style.