Located on the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xian (means ‘West Peace’ in Chinese) used to be an imperial capital of China for 13 dynasties in 1000 years.  Historically named Chang’an, Xian is considered as the root of Chinese civilization. Xian is listed in four greatest ancient capitals of China besides Beijing, Nanjing and Luoyang. With long-lasting history, it is understandable that Xian is the home to various museums and cultural relics. This city also has rich culture due to being a bridge between the eastern and western trading. Nowadays, Xian attracts thousands of tourists every year and it is said that: ‘If you don’t visit Xian, you haven’t been to China’.

What to do in Xian?

Visiting the most important archeological excavation – the Terracota Warriors

Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army is considered as the most important archeological excavation in China which was only be found in 1974. It was constructed as a funerary art to accompany Qin Shi Huang’s tomb, the first emperor of China. These terracotta warriors were served as the emperor’s afterlife guard. Began in 246 BC and finished in 206 BC, four years after the king’s death, Terracotta Army features 8000 life-size warriors and hundreds of horses and chariots. Not only soldiers but musicians, acrobats, and officers can also be found here – Qin Shi Huang seemed to prepare the full service for his afterlife.

Sightseeing to some historical, religious and cultural sites

As an ancient capital, it’s no doubt that Xian is the home to hundreds of attractive sites.

  • Ancient City Wall: Built during Ming dynasty in the 14th century, Xian Ancient City Wall is considered as one of the most magnificent military defensive systems in the world. Cycling around this wall is the best way to appreciate its magnificent view.
  • The Great Mosque: Constructed during Ming Dynasty (more than 400 years old), this mosque is the combination of Islamic and traditional Chinese architecture.
  • The Shaanxi History Museum: This museum will widen our knowledge about Xian’s glamorous imperial past. Inspired by Tang-dynasty style, this museum is relatively vast with the total area of 65,000 square meters.
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Built in Tang dynasty (more than 1000 years ago), Big Wild Goose Pagoda holds Buddhist sutras which were brought to China from India by Xuanzang.
  • Banpo Museum: Banpo Museum displays prehistoric artifacts and antiques of the Neolithic Yangshao culture. This museum enables tourists to visit excavated buildings which provide you with insights to Banpo people’s life.

Enjoying street food and buying souvenirs at Muslim Quarter

As a starting point of the Silk Road, many Arabic merchants came to Xian 1000 years old for trading and business. They gathered and established their own quarter – the Muslim Quarter. Nowadays, Muslim Quarter is a popular tourist attraction in Xian where you can find numerous street foods. Delicious noodles, bread, and vermicelli which are eaten with lambs and beef are easily found here. If you are a vegetarian, it is not a right place for you. Some dishes you can try are Yangrou paomo (Flatbread in mutton soup), Rou Jia Mo (Chinese hamburger) and soup dumpling.

Watching an imperial show

Tang Dynasty show

Enjoying a Tang Dynasty show in Tang Dynasty Palace (Tang Yue Gong) in the evening is the best way to finish a day in Xian. It is also a dinner restaurant and you can try savory dumplings while watching incredible music and dance shows. Tang is one of the most prosperous dynasties of Chinese feudalism and art and culture developed brilliantly in this era. Tang Dynasty Music and Dance shows praise the outstanding contribution of this dynasty to Chinese imperial era.

Best time to travel to Xian

With a temperature and monsoon climate, Xian has four distinct seasons with hot summers and cold winters. Xian’s weather is pleasant around the year and you can visit this city year-round. This city experiences a high amount of precipitation from July to September. The best time to travel to Xian is spring (March to May) or autumn (September to October). If you want to participate in skiing, stay in a ski resort in December or January.

Xian Travel Tips
  • Thanks to its convenient transportation system, it is easy to travel around the city by metro, bus and taxi. If you want to travel to other cities, flights and trains are available. However, tickets are often sold out quickly 10-20 days before public holidays, so we advise you to contact a travel agency to buy in advance.
  • You definitely should visit Terracotta Army when coming to Xian. Be aware that it is often crowded during weekends or Chinese public holidays, so avoid these times if you want to completely discover this attraction.
  • Carry an umbrella or a raincoat if you come to Xian in summers. Avoid visiting outdoor attractions such as the Ancient City Wall at noon.