Xian – the city of bright contrasts
Xian - an ancient capital of the Celestial Empire
Xian (Sian) is one of the ancient world’s cities aged more than 3,100 years old. Xian’s ancient name is Chang’ an, translated from Chinese as “long-lasting peace”. Xian is not only an ancient city of China, but also the capital of the Chinese state over several millennia under great emperors from the Zhou, Jin, Han, Sui and Tang dynasties.
Today Xian is an administrative center of Shaanxi province located in the North-Western region of China. Since 1990 Xian became an important center of culture, education and industry of China. This megapolis has a 456-km high-speed railroad to Zhengzhou city built in 2010, and a super-modern metro put into operation starting from 2011.
There are many educational institutions and business centers in Xian. There is also the Aeronautical Engineering Center, the largest in China. The city is a large megapolis with a population exceeding 8,000,000 people. Nowadays Xian is one of the most modern and well developed cities of China.
In ancient time Xian was not just an ordinary cultural and administrative center of China. Beginning from the II century BC, the city became one of the country’s largest trade centers where one could find various goods from all over the world. It was due to the fact that Xian was a starting point for all the caravans following the Great Silk Road from China to the West. It was the Great Silk Road, Buddhism came by to Xian, subsequently disseminating through the whole territory of China. Up to date there are almost 100 Buddhist temples functioning in Xian and its suburbs and the number of believers came to 80,000 people. Besides Buddhism, the Xian citizens profess Islam and Christianity, which have also gained ground in China owing to the Silk Road.
Everybody who is interested in culture and history of China should visit Xian, because, it has accumulated a unique collection of architectural and historical monuments. They include City Wall, Qujiang ruins park, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Xian Forest of Stone Steles Museum, Xian Great Mosque, Tang Dynasty Lotus Park etc.
Qujiang ruins park Besides, the Shaanxi Historical Museum is of profound interest due to a huge collection of the material culture monuments as well as ancient written sources having huge cultural value not only for China but also for the whole world. It has a unique collection of bronze and ceramic items, frescos and also fragments of tombs. One of the most valuable museum exhibits is remains of a homo erectus, more ancient than Sinanthropus.
One of the best-known sights of Xian, as well as the whole Shaanxi province is the world-known Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi tomb and his terracotta army. The tomb is located 40 km from the city, while 1.5 km from the tomb itself, there are burial places of 8,099 terracotta statues of soldiers together with their horses.
Xian is a city of contrasts, where modernity neighbors with ancient traditions and rich Chinese culture, while its ancient history interlaces closely with the achievements of the world civilization.