As soon as you arrive in Xi’an you can feel the history. Built on the ancient city of Chang’an there are plenty of hidden treasures and buried secrets to discover in Xi’an. Located in northwest China this proud city was once the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. The Ming era city walls protected the city for centuries but cannot hold back the hordes of visitors who flock to contemporary Xi’an to see the remarkable Terracotta Warriors that protect the emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife.
Areas & Neighborhoods in Xi’an
Central Xi’an - The grand Drum Tower and the Bell Tower rise over central Xi’an but from the cafes and restaurants at ground level this is a great location for people-watching.
West Xi’an - Many Buddhist temples are located in West Xi’an and this is the place to be for aimless ambling or purposeful meditation classes.
Muslim Quarter - Narrow lanes butcher shops and small mosques make up this area that has been home to the city’s Hui Muslim population for centuries. The Islamic food market in this area is a fascinating hub of activity.
Huashan - Take a day trip to this pretty village just a stone's throw away from Xi’an to see what it is that attracts the immortality seekers and spiritual hermits. Mount Hua is fantastic for hikingbut the infamous plank walks near the peak are not for the faint-hearted.
Things to See in Xi’an
One of the most famous archeological finds in the world the army of Terracotta Warriors was discovered accidently in an underground vault in Xi’an in the 1970s. These masses of soldiers are the guardians of Qin Shi Huang’s tomb. The attention to detail is staggering and it is said that no two soldiers’ faces are alike. When you finally surface from your visit head for the Xi’an Great Mosque to see for its glorious Islamic architecture and admire the thousands of white and pink magnolias that are in bloom every spring. The Big Goose Pagoda holds its own sandwiched as it is between modern buildings with its striking Chinese architecture. The DaMing Palace Park is a lovely green open space for an escape from the city streets.
Things to Do in Xi’an
Walking or cycling around Xi’an’s city walls will open up some of the fascinating history of this city to you. To see some of Chinese culture in action you can join the pilgrims at Famen Temple or browse the Tang dynasty artefacts at the temple museum. History is brought vividly to life at the Folk House a tastefully restored example of a courtyard home that houses an art gallery and teahouse. If you’re interested in something more interactive then there are numerous theatres around that host dance shows about the Tang dynasty. For a truly unique experience visit the Banpo Neolithic Village and explore the ruins of the matriarchal Neolithic Yangshao culture. For relaxing nothing beats the Huaqing Hot Springs. Although the baths are not open to visitors the elegant pavilions ornate ponds and cable car rides are sure to delight.