With a history of over 3,000 years, Xi'an is one of China's oldest cities. Xi'an is one of the world's top historical destinations, and maybe the best place to witness China's (ancient) past, thanks to its abundance of historically significant artefacts and cultural heritage.
You'll never run out of things to do in Xian, which served as the ancient capital city for 13 Chinese dynasties. The Terracotta Warriors, the Ancient City Wall, and other historical and cultural wonders were built by ancient Chinese over thousands of years. While wandering through this ancient city, you may feel as though you are retracing the pages of a Chinese history book. There are some good natural views around Xian City, for example, Mount Hua, which provides more breathtaking views of this historic city.
This fascinating area, which once served as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, offers visitors historical sites, a fascinating cultural mix of Islam, Buddhism, and atheism, as well as some of China's most delectable street food.
Below listed are the top 7 historical sites to see in Xi'an.
Why and How the Terracotta Army Was Made Why and How the Terracotta Warriors and Horses — an Eighth Wonder of the World
The Terracotta Army excavation site around Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum is a must-see attraction in Xi'an, if not all of China. It is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century.
Thousands of life-size terracotta soldiers dating back over 2,000 years will astound you. It's a fantastic place that lets us appreciate China's ancient history.
In 1974, a local farmer was digging a well in the countryside near Xi'an when he came across the Terracotta Warriors.
The sculptures, which represent soldiers in Emperor Qin Shi Huang's army, are thought to have been buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang around the year 210 BC, ostensibly to provide him with afterlife protection.
More than 8,000 terracotta warriors (said to be models of the Qing's real-life army), horses, and about 10,000 bronze weapons are on display at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
After their re-discovery, these intricate sculptures have become one of China's most famous attractions, with millennia underground.
The Ancient City Wall - an excellent example of city defense.
Xi'an's Ancient City Wall is one of China's oldest, highest, and best-preserved city walls. It was built during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century.
The Ancient City Wall is rectangular in form and measures 14 kilometres in length (8.7 miles). It has a moat, drawbridges, watchtowers, and gate towers that completely encircle the old city.
Tourists love to walk or ride their bikes along the wall. You can see the city life without interfering by looking down from the wall.
One of the Birthplaces of Buddhism - the Large Wild Goose Pagoda.
A large wild goose in East Asia, the pagoda was one of the birthplaces of Buddhism. It was established during the Tang Dynasty (618–907) for the study of Buddhist scriptures that Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk, brought back from India.
The pagoda's seven-story structure is a work of art. It was constructed using layers of bricks rather than cement. The structure now leans slightly to the west, by several degrees. For a fee, visitors can climb the pagoda to get a better view of the capital.
Yangling Han Dynasty Mausoleum — Miniature Terracotta Warriors
Emperor Jing, the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 8 AD), and Empress Wang are buried in the Han Yangling Mausoleum.
For lovers of ancient clay figures, this is another interesting underground museum. There are over 50,000 miniature terracotta figures on display. This tomb and its relics are not as ornate as those found at Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Warriors Museum, but they are more colourful.
The objects below are visible through the glass floor as you step over the pits through a glass hallway. Armed soldiers, palace maids, and animals with expressive faces are among the miniature figurines.
The Bell Tower - a National Historic Site of Outstanding Architectural Value.
The Bell Tower, which was built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), is the geographical centre of ancient Xi'an and a city landmark.
It stands 36 metres tall and is made of wood. It is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, and it is historically and artistically significant.
With all of its colours, it's very lovely at night. A panoramic view of the city can be had from the top of the tower.
The Drum Tower - the most famous and largest of its kind in the world.
The Drum Tower, which stands across from the Bell Tower, is a symbol of the area. This two-story rectangular tower, which was built in the early 14th century and stands 34 metres tall, is the tallest of its kind in China.
The architectural styles of the Tang (618–907) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties were merged in this house. There are 24 drums hanging along the tower's sides, some of which are thousands of years old.
Amazing Ancient Chinese Collections at the Shaanxi History Museum
Shaanxi History Museum is a must-see attraction for those interested in Chinese history or ancient art. It is one of China's biggest museums, with a floor area of 70,000 square metres.
Over 370,000 historical artefacts excavated from all over Shaanxi Province are housed in the museum, including bronze ware from the Western Zhou Dynasty, gold and silver wares, and murals found in Tang Dynasty tombs. There are also several terracotta warriors and horses on view.
The museum is free to visit, but you must present your passport to gain access. The number of tourists per day is capped at 4,000.