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Local Information
A world-famous tourist city and a treasure house of cultural relics

Xi'an, the eternal city, records the great changes of the Chinese nation just like a living history book. Called Chang'an in ancient times, Xi'an is one of the birthplaces of the ancient civilization in the Yellow River Basin area of the country. During Xi'an's 3,100 year development, 13 dynasties such as Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang placed their capitals here. So far, Xi'an enjoys equal fame with Athens, Cairo, and Rome as one of the four major ancient civilization capitals.
Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the southern part of the GuanZhong Plain. With the Qinling Mountains to the north and the Weihe River to the south, it is in a favorable geographical location surrounded by water and hills. It has a semi-moist monsoon climate and there is a clear distinction between the four seasons. Except the colder winter, any season is relatively suitable for traveling.

The cultural and historical significance of the area, as well as the abundant relics and sites, help Xi'an enjoy the laudatory title of "Natural History Museum". The Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is praised as "the eighth major miracle of the world", Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is listed on the World Heritage List, and the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty is the largest and most intact Ming Dynasty castle in the world. In the city, there is the 3000 year old Banpo Village Remains from the Neolithic Age, and the Forest of Stone Steles that holds 3,000 stone steles of different periods from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. Around Xi'an, the Famen Temple enjoys the reputation of being the "forefather of pagodas and temples in Central Shaanxi," because it holds the finger bones of Sakyamuni--the founder of Buddhism. The natural landscape around Xi'an is also marvelous. Mt. Huashan, as one of the five best-known mountains in China, is famous for its breath-taking cliffs and its unique characteristics.

As tourist development grows in Xi'an, the hotel industry flourishes more and more. It is very easy to find a hotel in Xi'an, ranging from 5 star hotels to youth hostels. Of course, it will be any traveler's first choice to stay in the city center due to the superior geographical location and the convenient transportation.

Praised as "the capital of table delicacies", Xi'an has been rich in the delicious Shaanxi snack, delicate Guangdong Cuisine, various kinds of fashionable foreign delicacies, and popular Sichuan Cuisine such as the hot pot. Among all the delicacies, the most famous and popular one is the Muslim Snack Street.

Xi'an is the most important city in northwest China, and so there are a lot of shopping outlets for locals and tourists alike. There are many big shopping centers, department stores and supermarkets in and around Xi'an city - the biggest and most comprehensive being Kai Yuan Shopping Mall and Century Ginwa Shopping Mall.

The night life in Xi'an has a unique glamour. Traditional ways include enjoying the night scenery around the Bell Tower, taking part in a Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, strolling on the ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square and watching the music fountain performance. More modern and fashionable ways include singing in the KTV, hanging out in a bar, or dancing in a Disco. All in all, any experience in this ancient city will bring you fun and possibly a little surprise!


Xi'an Attractions

Tang Paradise

Tang Paradise is located near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda ,  in the Qujiang Resort, southeast of the Xian City, Shaanxi Province. It is a newly opened tourist attraction in April, 2005. Tang Paradise covers a total area of 1000 mu (about 165 acres) and of which 300 mu (about 49 acres) is water. This tourist attraction not only claims to be the biggest cultural theme park in the northwest region of China but also the first royal-garden-like park to give a full display of the Tang Dynasty's (618-907) culture.Altogether, twelve scenic regions are distributed throughout Tang Paradise to provide visitors with the enjoyment of twelve cultural themes and a perfect exhibition of the grandness, prosperity and brilliance of the culture of the Tang Dynasty.


What makes Tang Paradise incredible is that it is no longer the garden mode of only water and mountains in the Chinese traditional sense. The outstanding designers of the magnificent Tang Paradise have integrated almost everything representative of the Tang Dynasty, such as the poetry, the songs and dance, the marketplaces, the food, the women's lifestyles, and science into every site using cultural themes, thus endowing every place with its own story and its own place in the tapestry of Tang Dynasty culture.


Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

The well-known Terra-cotta Museum is located east of Emperor Qin's Mausoleum, which covers a total area of 20 hectares. The museum is decorated with verdant trees,blooming flowers and carpets of green grass. The scenery in the museum looks quite elegant and delightful. Three main buildings of the museum, which were named Pit 1,Pit 2, Pit 3, were constructed on their original sites in different periods of time.



Emperor Qin's Terra-cotta Museum is not only a treasure house where the tourists can learn history, culture and human civilization, but also a main scenic spot of Xi'an city. It can receive about 1.5 million tourists annually. Approximately 40 million visitors from home and abroad have visited the Museum within the last 20 years. Today "the eighth Wonder of the world" has almost become synonym of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses In 1987, the Emperor Qin's Mausoleum was put on the list of the UNESCO as a world-class cultural heritage site. Now the Museum is well-known widely as a huge modern on-site museum and it is going to be one of the best in the world.


Mount Huashan

As one of the five best-known mountains in China, Mount Huashan is located to the south of Huayin city, 120 kilometers east of Xian, in Shaanxi province, with an elevation of 2200 meters above sea level. In ancient times, Mt. Huashan was called Mt. Taihuashan. Seen from afar, the five peaks looks like five petals of a flower. Hence its name, Mt. Huashan (= five flowers). Today, it is listed as one of the renowned national scenic spots.


More travelling information is linked as follows:

Bell Tower (Zhong Lou)

City Wall

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Forest of Stone Steles

Famen Temple

Huaqing Hot Springs

Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Qian Mausoleum (Qian Ling)

Shaanxi Provincial History Museum

Banpo Village Remains

Drum Tower

Mausoleum of Western Han Emperor Liu Qi (Hanyangling)

Huangdi Mausoleum Scenic Spot

Hukou Waterfalls (Kettle Spout Falls)


Dining of Xi'an

Xian is legendary as "the capital of table delicacies." The ancient city is famous for the delicious Shaanxi snack, the delicate Guangdong cuisine, various kinds of fashionable foreign delicacies, and the popular Sichuan cuisine, such as hot pot.

Local Food

Visitors to Xian must do two things: one is to see the clay figures of terra cotta warriors and horses. The other is to taste Yang Rou Pao Mo (a soup dish that involves breaking wheat flour flat bread into a bowl and adding a delicious mutton stock). Before dinner, you will be served one or two pieces of wheat flour flat bread which you into tiny chunks, the smaller the better. The waiter or the waitress will then hand your bowl to the cook who mixes the bread and mutton soup with an appropriate relish. When the steaming hot meal is brought in, the waiter will also offer you sweet crisp pickled garlic, coriander, and hot pepper sauce. The most famous, the Tong Sheng Xiang (Prosperity and Fortune) Beef and Lamb Paomo Restaurant done in Tang Dynasty style, is a time-honored establishment in the Xian Bell and Drum Tower Square.

Next to Tong Sheng Xiang is a great restaurant, De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant, with its own version of the Dumpling Banquet. Ingredients for the dumpling fillings include various meats, vegetables, and seasonings. Cooking methods include steaming, boiling, pan-frying, deep frying, and roasting. Many flavors, including salty, sweet, hot, and sour are offered. Other house specialties include Peking dumplings, steamed sweet bean paste buns, steamed shrimp paste buns, and various uniquely spiced dishes. While guests sample various delicacies, traditionally waiters will explain the cuisine culture of each dumpling.

One of Xian's most famous specialties is the Guan Tang Baozi (steamed buns served with sauces inside) served at Jia Brothers' Restaurant in Muslim Snack Street. You'll know you're there when you see the monstrous blue arch over the entrance and a wall festooned with photographs of Xian notables -- TV hosts, writers, and musicians. The specialty dish is Guan Tang Bao Zi, with a choice of beef, lamb or "three flavors" -- lamb, mushroom, and prawns. The buns have piping-hot soup inside, so caution is advised. This dish is best washed down with Ba Bao Xi Fan, a bowl of sweet rice porridge filled with peanuts, sultanas, hawthorn, and medlar berries.

Fanji is the famous vendor of Shaanxi's most widely consumed snack, Rou Jia Mo, finely chopped pork stuffed in toasted wheat flour flat bread. A piece of good-quality (youzhi) bread and a bowl of mung bean flour soup will cost you no more than RMB10. The state-run atmosphere is quaint and friendly, and the numerous awards that decorate the walls are well deserved. The restaurant is in a lane opposite the Drum Tower, south of West Main Street.

A fascinating lure for food buffs is Local Snacks Street (Hui Min Jie) near Drum Tower in Muslim Square. On the two sides of the 500-meter street, there are many restaurants of different cuisines along with unique snack shops. While enjoying true Muslim cuisine, tourists can learn customs of the Hui people.

Besides guan tang baozi in Jia Brothers' Restaurant, there is barbeque in the Pingwa Kaorou Shop, sour cabbage and beef fried rice in Honghong Suancai Chaomi Restraunt, and beef noodles in Yifenli Restaurant. Other offerings, including fried persimmon cake (shi zi bing), fried dumpling (guo tie), stir-fried bean jelly (chao liang fen), chopped mutton fried in a wok with fine-ground wheat (fen zheng rou), and beef and vegetable pie (xian bing) are available on both sides of the street.

If you would like to taste all the local food at one time in a budget meal, Xian Restaurant (Xian Fan Zhuang) offers more than 100 varieties in its first-floor self-service restaurant. It charges only RMB18 per person, and is very popular with visitors.
As the center of northwest China, Xian provides a wide range of table delicacies in addition to local and traditional cuisine.

Please visit Xi'an Travel Guide to get more information about Xi'an.