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China Holidays - Amazing Xian City Break Deals

Xi’an Holidays

Reference WW39830
Xi’an Holidays

Xi'an, in ancient times known as Chang'an, is situated prettily in central China in the southern part of Guan Zhong Plain in Shaanxi Province, 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 seen as comparable with 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 historical and cultural heritage and perhaps embark on an adventure tour along the ancient silk caravan route.

Besides the terracotta warriors, the city has many historical relics of interest, including museums and temples, which is unsurprising considering that Xi'an was the capital city of China through the rule of 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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Detailed City Overview

Detailed Xi'an Overview

Xi'an, in ancient times known as Chang'an, is situated prettily in central China in the southern part of Guan Zhong Plain in Shaanxi Province, 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 seen as comparable with 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 historical and cultural heritage and perhaps embark on an adventure tour along the ancient silk caravan route.

Besides the terracotta warriors, the city has many historical relics of interest, including museums and temples, which is 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.

Getting Around in Xi'an

Getting around in Xi'an is fairly easy. Buses run frequently, linking most attractions, and they are generally less daunting and more reliable than the buses in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. There are also smaller and more crowded minibuses available. Taxis are plentiful and easy to find, but visitors should ensure that the meter is switched on as drivers tend to overcharge with 'fixed rates'. As in most Chinese cities, hiring a bicycle is also a popular option, although one should be careful on the busy streets. Bicycles are best for the more touristy areas and for taking a ride along the city wall.

The best way to see the city, or at least parts of the city, is to walk. Xi'an is relatively small and compact and easy to navigate on foot. It is also generally a safe city, which makes walking a more viable option. For slightly longer distances, tuk-tuks are available in the city. Tuk-tuks are covered wagons connected to motorcycles and are cheaper than taxis.

Sightseeing in Xi'an

Xi'an is a treasure trove for travellers interested in archaeology and ancient Chinese history. The Shaanxi Provincial History Museum stands as a testament to the importance of this region in the development of Chinese culture. The museum houses about 113,000 artefacts collected in the area and are well worth a visit. Another exciting archaeological site to visit is the Banpo Village which dates back to 5,000 BC and constitutes the most well-preserved and complete example of an agricultural Neolithic settlement in the world. Xi'an is also home to the Forest of Steles, a collection of 3,000 steles (stone tablets and ancient inscriptions) collected over the centuries in a library which is a haven for travelling scholars or anyone interested in the history of language and the written word.

Of course, when it comes to sightseeing, Xi'an is synonymous with its foremost attraction: the famous Terracotta Army Museum with its collection of nearly 8,000 warriors, unearthed in 1974. This is a not-to-be-missed experience for any visitor to China. The recently opened Tomb of Emperor Jingdi in Xi'an also displays a number of terracotta statues and it is a far less crowded museum. On the way to the Terracotta Army, it is a good idea to stop off at the Huaqing Hot Springs to bathe in the same pools used by ancient emperors and their concubines.

The Xi'an city wall is one of the largest in the world and hiring a bicycle to cycle along the top is a wonderful introduction to the city. Travellers can also walk the wall, stopping along the way to take some amazing photographs of both ancient buildings and new age skyscrapers.

Top 5 Things to do in Xi’an

The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda, is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an, Shaanxi province.
The fortifications of Xi'an, also known as Xi'an City Wall, in Xi'an, an ancient capital of China, represent one of the oldest, largest and best preserved Chinese city walls.
he Drum Tower of Xi'an, located in the heart of Xi'an in Shaanxi province of China, along with the Bell Tower is a symbol of the city.
Famen Temple - Ancient temple site featuring a revered, tall pagoda & the sacred relics of the Buddha.

Location

When to Visit

  • Jan
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  • Currency The currency used is the Renminbi.
  • Flying time from the UK The average flight time from London to Xi An Xianyang is 13 hours 40 minutes.
  • Primary Language Guanzhong dialect, is a dialect of Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in Shaanxi's Guanzhong region, including the prefecture-level city of Xi'an.
  • Passport & Visas British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival.