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Home Travel in Shaanxi Travel Guide in Xi'an
Travel Guide in Xi'an
Travel in Shaanxi

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Xi’an (xī ān 西安) ranks first on the list of the country’s seven largest ancient capitals with a long-standing history and is known for being the capital city for 13 dynasties. It marked the starting point of the world famous Silk Road. Since the 1990s, the city of Xi’an has re-emerged as an important cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and China's space exploration program. Now, this city harmoniously combines its ancient charm with a modern atmosphere.

Brief Introduction

Situated in the middle of the Yellow River (huáng hé 黄河) reaches and at the center of the Central Shaanxi Plain (guān zhōng píng yuán 关中平原), Xi’an is the capital of the Shaanxi Xi'anprovince (shǎn xī shěng 陕西省) in China and a sub-provincial city. It is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home of the Terracotta Army (bīng mǎ yǒng 兵马俑) which was made during the Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝)(221-207 BC). From 11th century B. C. onwards, Xi’an or its vicinity has been established as the capital city by 15 kingdoms or feudal dynasties successively, including the Western Zhou (xī zhōu 西周)(1066-771 BC), the Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝)(221-207 BC), the Han Dynasty (hàn cháo 汉朝)(202BC-220AD), the Sui Dynasty (suí cháo 隋朝)(581-618 AD) and the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) (581-907 AD). The city has more than 3,100 years of history, and was known as Chang’an (zhǎng ān 长安).
Xi’an has a semi-arid, continental climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate and is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The city has a mean temperature of 13℃, and an average precipitation of 604 mm annually. The high season of tourism falls on May to August, although the most pleasant season for visiting Xi’an is autumn.

Tourist Attractions

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda (xiǎo yàn tǎ 小雁塔)
The Smal Wild Goose PagodaThe Small Wild Goose Pagoda, is one of two significant pagodas in the city of Xi’an, China. The pagoda has a brick frame built, uniquely and delicately shaped with a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era. The pagoda was originally built to house Buddhist scriptures and relics.
Location: Yanta District (yàn tǎ qū 雁塔区)
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
Admission Fee: RMB10
Transportation: Bus 1, 21, 521
For more information: The Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Shaanxi History Museum (shǎn xī lì shǐ bó wù guǎn 陕西历史博物馆)
Shaanxi History MuseumShaanxi History Museum is one of the first huge state museums with modern facilities in China. The museum exhibits more than 300,000 items including murals, paintings, pottery, coins, as well as bronze, gold, and silver objects. Its appearance imitates the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝).
Admission Fee: Free
Location: Yanta District (yàn tǎ qū 雁塔区)
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two hours
Transportation: Bus 5, 19, 24, 26, 27, 30, 34, 400, 401, 521, 527, 701, 710, 721, 722, Tourist Bus No.6, and No. 8 (610)
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 9:00 to 17:30 (Nov.15 to Mar.15), 8:30 to 18:00 (Mar.16 to Nov.14);
For more information: Shaanxi History Museum

Bell Tower (zhōng lóu 钟楼)
Bell TowerStanding at the crossing of the East, West, South, and North avenues in city proper, the Bell Tower has been a symbol of Xi'an. The tower is a brick and timber structure and 36 meters high. Musical performances are held inside at regular time.
Opening Hour: 8:30am-9:30pm May-Nov,         
                       8:30am-6:00pm Dec-Feb
Admission Fee: 30 Yuan
Location: The Center of Xi'an City
Transportation: Bus 600、604、610、215、239、611.
For more information: Bell Tower

The Great Mosque of Xi'an (xī ān dà qīng zhēn sì 西安大清真寺)
The Great MosqueThe Great Mosque of Xi'an, located near the Drum Tower (gǔ lóu 鼓楼) on 30 Huajue Lane (huà jiào xiàng 化觉巷) of Xi'an, is one of the oldest and most famous mosques in the country. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi’an is entirely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations because the mosque has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.
Admission Fee: Peak season 25 Yuan/ticket,
                       Off season 15 Yuan/ticket
Location: The Center of Xi'an City
For more information: The Great Mosque of Xi'an

Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses (bīng mǎ yǒng 兵马俑)
Terra Cotta Warriors and HorsesAround 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum (qín shǐ huáng líng 秦始皇陵), Lintong County (lín tóng qū 临潼区), Shaanxi Province, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses was built to bury treasures and sacrificial objects which accompanied Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of all China, in his after life. It was listed by UNESCO as one of the world cultural heritages. Regarded as a miracle of the world's eighth largest, it is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China. 
Opening Hours: 8:00 to 18:00
Attractions Nearby: Huaqing Pool (huá qīng chí 华清池), Cuihuashan (cuì huá shān 翠华山).
Location: Lintong District
Transportation: Bus 914 and Tourist Bus 5 (306)
Admission Fee: CNY 90 (Mar.1 to Nov. 30), CNY 65
 (Dec. 1 to Feb. 28/29).
For more information: Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

Huaqing Pool (huá qīng chí 华清池)
Huaqing Hot SpringSituated 30 kilometers east of Xi’an at the foot of the Lishan Hills (lí shān 骊山), Huaqing Hot Spring (huá qīng chí 华清池) was a popular retreat with Emperors more than 2500 years ago, many of whom enjoyed bathing in the perfectly clear mineral water. By visiting the Huaqing Hot Spring, you will not only enjoy the scenery, but also taste the pleasure of imagining yourself back in the days of the Tang Dynasty.
Admission Fee: RMB40
Opening Hours: Daily 8am-7pm.
Location: Lintong District (lín tóng qū 临潼区)
For more information: Huaqing Pool

Xi’an Food

Xi’an boasts its cuisine for its diversity. Xi'an cuisine is rich in the northwest flavor while due to Shaanxi's geographical location in the center of China, different types of materials deriving from both north and south China are adopted by Xi’ an Cuisine. Salt, vinegar, capsicum and garlic are frequently used, making the savory flavor of sour, spicy and fragrant.

Yangrou Paomo (yáng ròu pào mó 羊肉泡馍)
Yangrou PaomoYangrou Paomo is a tasty Xi'an specialty that comprises a mutton soup alongside with wheat flour flat bread. The hard bread is broken up into small pieces. The smaller, the better. Then it is added to the soup. Then the mixture is eaten along with sweet crisp pickled garlic, coriander, and hot pepper sauce. 

Jiaozi (jiǎo zǐ 饺子)
Jiaozi BanquetJiaozi, Chinese dumplings, consist of a large variety of ingredients wrapped in a thin dough covering. It must be a great pity if you miss enjoying the Xi'an's featured Jiaozi Banquet (xī ān jiǎo zǐ yàn 西安饺子宴). The Jiaozi served in a Jiaozi banquet are made of merely the finest ingredients and come in unbelievable shapes. They are works of art with their look like butterflies, penguins, leaves, goldfish, ducks, golden ingots, flowers, clouds, and pearls and so on.

Guan Tang Baozi (guàn tāng bāo zǐ 灌汤包子)
Guan Tang BaoziOne of Xi'an's most famous specialties is the Guan Tang Baozi. They are steamed buns served with piping-hot soup inside and a choice of beef, lamb or 'three flavors' - lamb, mushroom, and prawns. With over ten types of seasoning, they are really quite delicious. With a little bit of vinegar, they can make for a very satisfying meal. They are served at Jia Brothers' Restaurant (jiǎ sān guàn tāng bāo zǐ guǎn 贾三灌汤包子馆) in Muslim Snack Street (huí mín xiǎo chī jiē 回民小吃街).

Rou Jia Mo (ròu jiá mó 肉夹馍)
Rou Jia MoRou Jia Mo is finely chopped pork stuffed in toasted wheat flour flat bread. A piece of good-quality bread and a bowl of mung bean flour soup will cost you less than 10 Yuan. You can find it easily in Xi’an.


Special Tips: Almost all the snacks in Xi’an can be found in the Local Snacks Street (huí mín xiǎo chī jiē 回民小吃街). Local Snacks Street (Moslem Street) is near Drum Tower (gǔ lóu 鼓楼) in Muslim Square (mù sī lín guǎng chǎng 穆斯林广场). On the two sides of the 500-meter street, there are many restaurants of different cuisines along with unique snack shops. Even the mutton sticks, barbecued stuffs there are different from other parts of China. Not to mention, it is cheap since the stalls are mostly catered to the locals. Do not expect posh restaurants there, but some plain, clean stretch of stalls with benches. Do expect a lot of mutton and beef and definitely no pork there.


Calligraphy Rubbings (mó tuò pǐn 摹拓品)
Calligraphy RubbingXi’an is a store house of ancient Chinese culture and calligraphy. Rubbings are the copies of inscriptions on the stone tablets that are made with paper and Chinese ink. Books of rubbings from some of the most famous Chinese calligraphers can be purchased there. If you are interested in Chinese history, language, or calligraphy, then this is an excellent opportunity to enrich your collection of calligraphic rubbings.

The Imitation of Tri-colored Glazed Pottery (táng sān cǎi 唐三彩)
The Imitation of Tri-colored Glazed PotteryXi’an’ s proud tradition as the capital of the Tang Dynasty is kept alive today by modern day imitation of tri-colored glazed pottery. It is mainly a three-colored glaze: yellow, green and brown, hence the name “tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty”. Common themes include figurines and ceramic camels and horses. It is regarded as treasure and also fine goods for home decorations and gifts for friends and relatives.


Terra-Cotta Warrior's Reproductions (bīng mǎ yǒng fǎng zhì pǐn 兵马俑仿制品)
Terra-Cotta Warrior's Reproductions With the excavation and exhibition of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin, Terra-Cotta Warrior's reproductions are becoming the famous gifts and souvenirs for foreign tourists. The imitations are made strictly after the model of the real ones and of all sizes to meet the needs of different tourists.


Lintong Fire-crystal Persimmon (lín tóng huǒ jīng shì zǐ 临潼火晶柿子)
Lintong Fire-crystal Persimmon The persimmons grown in Lintong District look as red as fire and as clear as crystal, hence the name Fire-crystal Persimmons. Owing to its post-cooked soft, red skin, and covered with branches like flame in late autumn when they are mature, it is also known as the "scenery of fire". With thin peel and sweet pulp, they are small, fire red, crystal clear, and seedless.



The culture of Xi'an descends from one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren (guān zhōng rén 关中人) culture, perceived as the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese, is characterized by "Ten Strangenesses of Guanzhong Ren" (guān zhōng shí dà guài 关中十大怪).

The Bell TowerSeven styles of architecture prevails in urban Xi'an, the first three of which include the architecture of Qin and Han dynasties (qín hàn fēng gé 秦汉风格), the architecture of Tang Dynasty (táng fēng 唐风) and the architecture of Ming and Qing dynasties (míng qīng fēng gé 明清风格). Modern architectural forms (xiàn dài fēng gé 现代风格) are common in the High-Tech Zone and the Economic-Development zone. New Tang Style (xīn táng fēng 新唐风), a new Chinese architectural form, can be mainly found in Qujiang (qǔ jiāng 曲江), which combines the soul of tradition and modern architecture; the Shaanxi History Museum and the Xi'an Museum typify this style.

QinqiangQinqiang (qín qiāng 秦腔), also called "random pluck" (luàn dàn 乱弹), is the oldest and most extensive of the four major types of Chinese opera and also the main type of drama in Shaanxi province. Qinqiang has developed its own system of unique vocal music, spoken parts, facial makeup, posture, role, category and acting and has exerted direct influences on Jingju (jīng jù 京剧).

The Painting of Chang'an School Chang'an School (zhǎng ān huà pài 长安画派) is of great importance among modern Chinese schools of traditional arts. The main artists include Zhao Wangyun (zhào wàng yún 赵望云), Shilu (shí lǔ 石鲁), He Haixia (hé hǎi xiá 何海霞), Liu Wenxi (liú wén xī 刘文西).

Nowaday, vistors still get an opportunity to listen to The Tang Dynasty Music, always accompanied by dance show,It's a wonderful performance of the ancient music and gives you The Tang Music and Dance Showan impressive view of ancient China including its splendid history, brilliant arts, distinct traditions and customs. A wide range of unusual oriental musical instruments was used in The Tang Dynasty Music. Professinal artists illustrate this cultural heritage on stage in the Tang Paradise and other tourist attractions. Besides, Xi'an boasts its rock music, and is known as one of the vigorous underground musical centres in China. It cultivates many contemporary Chinese Stars such as Xu Wei (xǔ wēi 许巍),  Zheng Jun (zhèng jūn 郑钧).


Red SorghumXi'an is home to known directors such as Zhang Yimou (zhāng yì móu 张艺谋) and Gu Changwei (gù zhǎng wèi  顾长卫). Xi'an has the pleasure to be the only city in China to win the Golden Bear (Berlin Film Festival) twice. The first film is Red Sorghum (hóng gāo liáng 红高粱), produced by Xi'an Filmmaking Factory (now called Xi'an Qujiang Filmmaking Group) and the second one is Tuya's Marriage (tú yǎ de hūn shì 图雅的婚事), by Xi'an Filmmaking Company.