Xian

Ancient Xian City

A city of central China, southwest of Beijing, the capital of modern Shaanxi province, Xian is Located in the Wei River valley, known as the most important city in Chinese history, and it is listed as the first of the Six Great Ancient Capitals of China because it has served as the capital of 11 dynasties beginning in the 11th century BC over a period of 4000 years, including the Western Zhou, Western Han, Qin, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Sui, and Tang and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. It was called Chang'an (literally "perpetual Peace") in ancient times. It became one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world during the Tang dynasty (AD 618 - 907) and was a thriving commercial centre. Xian is also the starting point of Silk Road, traders from far and wide brought goods and ideas for sale and took goods and ideas back with them to their communities. Following to Rome's downfall in the 7th century A.D. it took the title of the largest city in the world with over a million people. Marco Polo visited in the 13th century. It was an entry point in the 1920s for communist ideology from the Soviet Union. In 1936, after Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek had been kidnapped there (see Xi'an Incident), the communists and Nationalists formed a united front against Japanese invaders. It is the site of several educational institutions and numerous temples and pagodas. It became an important tourist destination after the discovery of the nearby tomb of Emperor Shihuangdi (259B.C.-210B.C.), with its army of 6,000 life-size terra-cotta warriors (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987).

Tang Dynasty Wild Goose Pagoda

The city has numerous Tang dynasty pagodas and is noted for its history museum, housed in an 11th-century Confucian temple which is the Stone Tablet Museum now containing large stone tablets from the Tang dynasty; one (781) commemorates the establishment of a Nestorian church. The city wall, dating from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), is still visible in places.

Xian is the largest and most developed city in the central to northwestern part of China and is ranked among the 10 largest cities in China.
 
Xian is situated on the Longhai Railway, China's principal east-west line; the city has a major airport - Xian Xianyang International Airport. It is an important commercial and tourism center.  Xian has airplane manufacture, textile and steel mills, food-processing establishments, and plants making chemicals, cement, electrical machinery, and fertilizer.
 
Xi'an has a population of more than 8 million people with about 5 million people living within the urban area today. The majority of Xi'an's residents are Han Chinese, which consists of 99.1% of the city's total population. There are around 81,500 ethnic minority people lives in Xi'an, including 50,000 Muslim Hui people, many of them are concentrated in Xi'an's famous Muslim quarter, which is also the home to the beautiful 1,360 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an.

Xi an is also the center of culture and education center of China. In Xian there are many universities, such as  Northwest Polytechnical Univ., Xi'an Jiaotong Univ., and many other institutions of higher learning. And Xi'an is the high education and scitifec reach center of China


History of Xi'an
Zhou Dynasty established its capital in Feng and Hao between the late 11th century BC and 770 BC, both located West of contemporary Xi'an. 

Qin Dynasty Terra-cotta Warriors

Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) constructed its capital in Xianyang, on the north shore of Wei River. It was burned by Xiang Yu at the end of the dynasty.
 
202 BC: Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, established Chang'an County as his capital; his first palace Changle Palace was built across the river from the ruin of the Qin capital. This is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an and Xi'an.

194 BC: Construction of the first city wall of Chang'an began, which did not finish until 190 BC. The wall measured 25.7 km in length, 12-16 m in thickness at the base. The area within the wall was ca. 36 km2.  Xian was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. It was also among the richest cities in China because of the silk trades with the west.
 
190 BC:The most powerful tyrant of the time, Dong Zhuo, moves the court from Luoyang to Chang'an in a bid to avoid a coalition of powerful warlords against him.

582: Emperor of Sui Dynasty ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing (Great Excitement). It consisted of three sections: the X'ian Palace, the Imperial City, and the civilian section. The total area within the wall was 84 km2. The main street Zhuque Avenue measured 155 m in width. It was the largest city in the world.

The city was renamed Chang'an (Perpetual Peace or Eternal Peace) in Tang Dynasty. 
7th century: Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, well-known as Tang Sanzang in China, established a sizeable translation centre after returning from India with Sanskrit scriptures.
 
652: Construction of Da Yan Pagoda (Great Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 64 m in height. This pagoda was constructed for the storage of the translations of Buddhist sutras obtained from India by the monk Xuan Zang.
 
707: Construction of Xiao Yan Pagoda (Little Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 45 m in height. After the earthquake of 1556, its height was reduced to 43.4 m.
 
904: The end of Tang Dynasty brought destruction to Chang'an. Residences were forced to move to Luoyang, the new capital. Only a small area continued to be occupied after the destruction.
 
1370: Ming Dynasty built a new wall to protect a much smaller city of 12 km2. The wall measures 11.9 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15-18 m in thickness at the base.
 
This city was the site of the Xi'an Incident in 1936 during World War II. The Xi'an Incident brought the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang to a truce so the two forces could concentrate on fighting against Japan.
 
In 1974, terra cotta soldiers built by Emperor Qin Shihuang to guard his tomb were discovered by farmers digging a well.
 
Geography of Xian
The city is nested between a flood plain created by 8 surrounding rivers and streams, most of which have been too polluted to be used as sources of fresh water.
Xi'an borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountain Ranges to the south, and the banks of Wei River to the north.
One of the four sacred Taoist mountains, Mount Huashan, is located at the east of the city.
The city covers approximately 16,808 km2 of urban area.
 
Culture of Xian
Historically, Xi'an was the most important city in China, and has been one of the most important cities in the world, . The culture of Xi'an is inherited from the traditions of one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren were the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese, their cultural features are drawn from the Ten Specialities of Guanzhong Ren. Another major part of this culture is Eight Great Sights of Chang'an, storied scenic areas in the region.
The drama of the original Xi'anese culture, Qinqiang (Voice of Qin, Qin Opera, local opera) is the oldest and most extensive Chinese Opera of the four major types of Chinese opera. The dialect of Xi'an is Shaanxi dialect, which is being assimilated by Standard Mandarin, but still retains much grammar and pronunciation from the Classical Chinese.