What it is:
While other destinations in China might feel like they have ancient charm hidden in every nook and cranny, few places come close to the historically breathtaking city of Xi’an. Once called Chang’An, meaning “Eternal Peace”, Xi’an is considered one of the literal birthplaces of Chinese civilisation, since it’s located in the heart of the Yellow River Basin, which historians would call ground zero for ancient Chinese culture. Xi’an is also the eastern terminal of the ancient Silk Road and home to the incredible Terracotta Warriors (which date back to 210 BCE) so it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Xi’an is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations for history buffs.
Of course, the famous Terracotta Army is the most famous of all the sights in Xi’an. The collection of over 8,000 warriors, horses and chariots was buried with the first emperor of China in the 3rd Century, in an effort to protect the ruler in the afterlife. The colossal assembly is likely the largest funerary art in the world.
Xi’an is also home to a collection of beautifully preserved ancient architecture. Xi’an City Wall is one of the most impressive feats as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The eight-mile wall is in surprisingly good shape, despite its age, it is the most complete surviving city wall in China.
The Bell Tower is another ancient monument that marks the centre of the ancient capital and Big Wild Goose Pagoda is arguably one of the most famous temples in China. Beyond built structures, Xi’an Wind and Percussion Ensemble is a must see sight for visitors to Xi’an. This UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage is just as fascinating as its tourist spots.
How to get there:
Xi’an is extremely accessible by many modes of transport as it is an essential junction between many regions in China. Xian Xianyang International Airport operates flights to over 100 cities, both international and domestic. There is also a shuttle bus to Xianyang City and a number of shuttle buses to downtown Xi’an.
With over 1,740 miles of highway in the city and at least seven long-distance bus station, Xi’an is well connected to the rest of the country and can be reached from most major cities.
There are two railway stations in the city, Xian Railway Station and North Railway Station, the former of which is the largest railway hub in western China. There are regular trains from most major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. There are also a number of high-speed trains and bullet trains that stop in Xi’an.