Xi An
Xi An © Caitriana Nicholson

Xi'an, also known as the ancient city, is situated in central China in the southern part of Guanzhong Plain, with the Qinling Mountains to the north and the Weihe River to the south. In ancient times the city of Xi'an was a major crossroads on the trading routes from eastern China to central Asia, and the beginning point of the famed Silk Road. In recent years this 3,100-year-old city that was once as prominent as Rome and Constantinople, has come back into its own as one of China's major tourist destinations.

In 1974, on the city's eastern outskirts, archaeologists stumbled across a treasure trove: an army of terracotta warrior figurines in battle formation standing in underground vaults. Hailed as the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an have brought visitors from around the world flocking to the city to soak up its heritage, and perhaps embark on an adventure along the ancient silk caravan route.

Besides the terracotta warriors, the city has many historical relics of interest, including museums and temples, unsurprising considering that Xi'an was the capital city of China through the rule 12 dynasties. The city wall is one of the widest, highest, and best preserved in the world, and the Forest of Steles, with its collection of more than 3,000 ancient stone tablets, is both the largest and oldest in China.


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