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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Top attractions in Xi'an, China

( Xi'an, located in northwest China, is known all over the world as the home to the Terracotta Army and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road.

 Xi'an also rivals Athens, Cairo and Rome as one of the four ancient capitals in the world as the city has a history of more than 3,100 years, in which more than 1,100 years was as the capital city for 13 dynasties (there are still some debates over the number of dynasties which use Xi'an as their capital).

Terracotta Army (兵马俑)

The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of the China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. It became the Eighth Wonder of the World and a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1987. The Terracotta Army is one of many treasures and objects buried with the emperor to accompany him in his afterlife. 

It was discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers who were digging a well. The Terracotta Army is one of the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.

Admission: 110 yuan (includes Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, Museum of Qin Terracotta Army, Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and Museum of Stone Armor)
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (March 16 to Nov. 14); 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Nov. 14 to March 15)
Tel: +86 29 81399170
How to get there: Tourism Bus 5 (306) from the east square of Xi'an Railway Station to Bing Ma Yong

Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum (秦始皇陵)

Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum is the mausoleum of the China's first emperor, Qing Shi Huang (personal name Ying Zheng). Ying Zheng began the construction of his mausoleum when he was still the king of the Qin State during Warring States period of China in 247 BC. It took 38 years to complete.

The tomb is located on Li Mountain in the south and overlooks the Wei River to the north. According to traditional Chinese geomancy, the lay of the land from Li Mountain to Hua Mountain is shaped like a dragon. The imperial tomb is just right at the eye of the dragon. Tourists are not allowed inside the mausoleum but can visit the surrounding gardens and mountains. A reconstruction of the mausoleum, located to the west of the original, allows the visitors to see the interior of the mausoleum.

Admission: 110 yuan (includes mausoleum, Museum of Qin Terracotta Army, Museum of Terracotta Acrobatics, Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials and Museum of Stone Armor)
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

How to get there: Tourism Bus 5 (306) from the east square of Xi'an Railway Station to Bing Ma Yong

Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)

Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda in southern Xi'an. Built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty, it is well preserved and has become one of the emblems of the city. It is part of the Da Ci'en Temple complex, where there are regular music shows in the square's fountain, as well as pleasant parks and Western eateries nearby.

Admission: 50 yuan entrance fee; 30 yuan to climb pagoda Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tel: +86 29 85535014

How to get there: Bus 5, 19, 21, 23, 24, 34, 41, 44, 109, 224, 237, 242, 400, 408, 501, 521, 526, 527, 601, 606, 701 to Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Huaqing Hot Springs (Huaqing Palace) (华清池)

Located at the northern foot of Lishan Mountain, 30 kilometers from Xi'an, Huaqing Hot Spring is famous for its amazing spring scenery and the romantic love story of the owner and his favorite concubine. The garden was built by Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) near hot springs at the foot of the mountain so he could frolic with his favorite concubine, Yang Guifei. During his reign, the emperor spent a large sum of his funds to build a luxurious palace, reflecting the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty.

Address: 38 Huaqing Road
Admission: 40 yuan (December to February); 70 yuan (March to November)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tel: +86 29 83812003

Forest of Stone Steles Museum (Xi'an Beilin Museum) (碑林博物馆)

Forest of Stone Steles Museum, initially established in 1087, is the largest and oldest museum of steles in China and has a large collection of 3,000 steles from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. These stone steles record the development of Chinese culture and cultural exchanges between China and other countries.

Address: 15 Sanxue Street
Admission: 45 yuan (March to November); 30 yuan (December to February)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. (March to November, last entry 6 p.m.); 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (December to February, last entry 5:15 p.m.)
Tel: +86 29 87210764

How to get there: Bus 14, 208, 402, 512, 223, 704 to Wen Chang Men

Drum Tower (钟鼓楼)

The Drum Tower and Bell Tower, located in the heart of Xi'an, are called sister buildings. They are the symbols of the city. The Drum Tower offers an imposing view of Xi'an. Initially built in 1380, the drums were used to signal the running of time and on occasion were used as an alarm in emergency situations. In 1996, a new drum was put into the Drum Tower and is the biggest drum in China. The Drum Tower also has a museum with regular musical performances.

Bell Tower (钟鼓楼)

The Bell Tower, built in 1384, once marked the geographical center of the ancient capital. In 1582, it was moved a kilometer east. The tower is made of brick and timber and almost 40 meters high. 

During the Ming Dynasty, Xi'an was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact reflected in the size and historic significance of its bell tower.

Admission: 27 yuan each, or 40 yuan for a joint ticket
Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (April to October); 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (November to March)
Tel: +86 29 87288397

How to get there: Bus 4, 6, 7, 8, 15, 32, 43, 45, 201, 205, 206, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 300, 604, 611, 612, K630 to Bell Tower.

Tang Paradise (大唐芙蓉园)

Xi'an is the capital city of China's prosperous Tang Dynasty and the Tang Paradise is the first park in China modeled after a royal garden to give a full display of Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) culture. It covers about 165 acres in southeast Xi'an, of which about 30 percent is water. The park also features song and dance performances about grand ceremonies during the Tang Dynasty.

One of the wonders at the Tang Paradise is its spectacular water film, the largest of its kind in the world. Its screen is a film of water, which can create a special kind of optical effect. The fan-like water screen and beautiful night integrated perfectly. The film is set in the Tang Dynasty for visitors to relive the gloriousness of that time. The wonderful movie begins at 20:40 every night.

Address: 99 Furong West Road, Qujiang New District
Admission: 90 yuan (March to November); 68 yuan (December to February)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tel: +86 29 85511888

How to get there: Bus 21, 22, 23, 24, 212, 237, 609, K619, 715, 720 to Tang Paradise or Tang Paradise South Gate.

City Wall (城墙)

Xi'an's City Wall is one of the oldest and best preserved city walls in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.

Construction of the first city wall of Xi'an began in 194 BC and lasted for four years. The existing wall was started during the Ming Dynasty in 1370 and encircles 14 square kilometer of the city.
The City Wall has 18 gates, which are all open for tourists to ascend the wall. No matter which gate you choose to enter, you can tour the whole circle of the wall.

Admission: 40 yuan
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (spring and summer); 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (fall and winter)
Tel: +86 29 87282976

How to get there: Bus 6, 11, 12, 23, 46, 215, 239, 302, 600, 603, 608, 713, 910, K600, K618 to South Gate; Bus 8, 22, 27, 29, 33, 37, 43, 45, 102, 203, 218, 232, 235, 252, 300, 527, 602, 604, 714, 903 to East Gate; Bus 6, 26, 28, 33, 37, 39, 104, 107, 117, 205, 206, 208, 214, 216, 229, 236, 238, 310, 336, 506, 511 to North Gate; Bus 4, 10, 15, 23, 31, 201, 205, 206, 215, 221, 222, 223, 300, 302, 407, 504, 611, 701, K630 to West Gate.

Taste Xi'an cuisine (品尝西安美食)

Xi'an cuisine is well known throughout China and visitors to Xi'an must not come and go without tasting local snacks. Due to Xi'an's geographical location in the center of China, its snacks adopted various materials from both north and south China. Local cooking features frying, sauting, braising and frequent use of salt, vinegar, capsicum and garlic. Among the great variety of local snacks, Yang Rou Pao Mo (crumbled unleavened bread soaked in mutton stew), Rou Jia Mo (Shaanxi Sandwich), and Cold Rice Noodles are the most popular.

A renowned place to try local snacks is Muslim Street beside the Drum Tower. It is also a great place to go bargain hunting for small items of aircrafts.

Daming Palace Site (大明宫国家遗址公园)

Daming Palace was the grandest and most significant palace complex in Xi'an (then Chang'an) during Tang Dynasty (618-907) where Tang emperors lived, dealt with state affairs and met with officials.

It has been rebuilt and opened to the public on October 1st, 2010. About two thirds of the park is free to get in. The other one third features cultural heritages and exhibition and needs admission fee.

Hanyuan Palace was the main palace, where grand ceremonies were held. It was also an important international exchange center. On every New Year's Day, ambassadors from various countries came and participated in the grand ceremonies held here. The majestic palace not only reflects Tang Dynasty's prosperity, but also represents the highest architectural level of that time. It is said that the Forbidden City in Beijing was built after the layout of Daming Palace.

Address: 78 Xuanwu Road
Admission: 60 yuan
Tel: +86 29 86708192

How to get there: Bus 2, 216, 262 to Tongjia Lane; Bus 16, 17, 22, 38, 46, 104, 209, 801 to Taihua Road

Source: by Wang Yanfang

from China Travel & Tourism News


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