The many layers of Xian’s history have left some of China’s most extraordinary attractions. Xian was the birthplace of a united China, the starting point of the Silk Road and the capital of the country for over 1,100 years then known as Changan. It is situated between the rivers and the mountains in the center of the Guangzhou Plain. The city covers 880 square miles and has a population of 2.5 million people. Having been the capital of so many dyansties, Xian has a host of historical sites to visit. From the time of the Qin Dynasty, Changan prospered as China’s capital and terminal of the Silk Road, The Tang Dynasty emperors who ruled from 618-906, made the city a center for artists, architects, poets and priests from all over Asia. Wonderful palaces were built, like Huaqing hot spring with its hot spring bath and luxury pavilions as well as the Wild Goose pagodas that celebrated the arrival of Buddhism to China.
Dating from 5,000 BC, Banpo was a well organized village with protected stockades, farms and a cemetery, all of which have been reconstructed at the museum. Five excavations since 1954 have uncovered a village of 45 houses, Stone Age pottery, tools, and bones. The museum site has a hall covering 23,400 square feet and two exhibition rooms.
Dayan (Big Wild Goose) Pagoda
This temple is on the grounds of the Temple of Good Will and is about 2 miles south of Xian. It was built in 652AD by Xuan Zhuang, the famous monk of the Tang Dynasty, who translated Buddhist texts he brought back from India. The pagoda is 7 stories and offers a good view of the city and country side from the top.
Built in 1384, the tower is constructed of wood and brick with a ribbed roof. It is elegant and sturdy at the same time. The first floor of the tower offers impressive jewelry and wall hangings.
Huaqing Hot Springs
The springs are at the western foot of Lishan Hill, east of Xian. They have been known for more than 5000 years. The water is 109 degrees Fahrenheit and contains many minerals and is good for bathing. It is rumored that past emperors have kept their favorite concubines at the springs and visited often.
Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum
The tomb was built in the 3rd century of the emperor Qui Shi Huang. In 1974, a farmer discovered a huge pit with numerous Qin pottery figures east of the mausoleum. The unearthed clay warriors and horses, all life like and life size, provide valuable information for the study of the military weapons of the time and the sculpture of the time. The excavations still continues and you can watch archaeologists at work revealing more and more of these remarkable statues.