Template:Infobox City Xi'an (Template:Zh-cpw; Postal System Pinyin: Sian), is the capital of Shaanxi province in China and a sub-provincial city. Known as one of the most important cities in Chinese history, Xi'an is listed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China because it has been the capital of 13 dynasties, including the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang. Xi'an is also the eastern end of the Silk Road. The city has more than 3,100 years of history. It was called Chang'an (Template:Zh-tspl), in ancient times.

Xi'an is the largest and most developed city in the central to northwestern part of China and is ranked among the 10 largest cities in China.


Main article: History of Xi'an
  • Zhou Dynasty established its capital in Fēng (沣/灃) and Hào (镐/鎬) between the late 11th century BCE and 770 BCE, both located West of contemporary Xi'an. Xian was the head of the silk road. Back then, Xian was the richest city in China because of their silk trades.
  • 202 BCE: Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, established Chang'an County as his capital; his first palace Changle Palace (长乐宫/長樂宮) was built across the river from the ruin of the Qin capital. This is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an and Xi'an.
  • 194 BCE: Construction of the first city wall of Chang'an began, which did not finish until 190 BCE. The wall measured 25.7 km in length, 12-16 m in thickness at the base. The area within the wall was ca. 36 km².
  • 190 CE - The most powerful tyrant of the time, Dong Zhuo, moves the court from Luoyang to Chang'an in a bid to avoid a coalition of powerful warlords against him.
  • 582: Emperor of Sui Dynasty ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing (大興, great excitement). It consisted of three sections: the X'ian Palace, the Imperial City, and the civilian section. The total area within the wall was 84 km², The main street Zhuque Avenue measured 155 m in width. It was the largest city in the world. The city was renamed Chang'an (長安, Perpetual Peace or Eternal Peace) in Tang Dynasty.
  • 652: Construction of Da Yan Pagoda (大雁塔, Great Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 64 m in height. This pagoda was constructed for the storage of the translations of Buddhist sutras obtained from India by the monk Xuan Zang.
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  • 707: Construction of Xiao Yan Pagoda (小雁塔, Little Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 45 m in height. After the earthquake of 1556, its height was reduced to 43.4 m.
  • 904: The end of Tang Dynasty brought destruction to Chang'an. Residences were forced to move to Luoyang, the new capital. Only a small area continued to be occupied after the destruction.
  • 1370: Ming Dynasty built a new wall to protect a much smaller city of 12 km². The wall measures 11.9 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15-18 m in thickness at the base.


The city is nested between a flood plain created by 8 surrounding rivers and streams, most of which have been too polluted to be used as sources of fresh water.

Xi'an borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountain Ranges to the south, and the banks of Wei River to the north.

One of the four sacred Taoist mountains, Mount Hua, is located at the east of the city.

The city covers approximately 16,808 km² of urban area.


Its population is around 7.5 million. About 4 million people live in the city area. Xi'an has a large Muslim quarter which is the home to the beautiful 1,360 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an. It is also one of the most heavily trafficked tourist cities within the People's Republic, a destination for tens of thousands of foreign and Chinese tourists alike every year.

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Historically, Xi'an has been one of the most important cities in the world. The culture of Xi'an is inherited from the traditions of one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren (关中人/關中人) were the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese, their cultural features are drawn from the Ten Specialities of Guanzhong Ren (关中十大怪/關中十大怪). Another major part of this culture is Eight Great Sights of Chang'an (长安八景/長安八景), storied scenic areas in the region.

The drama of the original Xi'anese cow, Qinqiang (秦腔, Voice of Qin) is the oldest and most extensive Chinese Opera of the four major types of Chinese opera. The dialect of Xi'an is Shaanxi Hua, which is being assimilated by Standard Mandarin, but still retains much grammar and pronunciation from the Classical Chinese. Because of its long development as a culture, the cuisine of Xi'an is extensive as well. It is the representative of food of Northwestern China. The most well known local food is the Xi'anese snack, a traditional food of the Hui people. Hui-style snacks feature beef and mutton because the Hui people do not eat pork. Baked beef and mutton, buns with beef, and other such regional dishes that are usually spicy in nature and incorporate a lot of beef and mutton ingredients. Two particularly famous Xi'an dishes include a pancake and mutton soup, which can be optionally spicy, and Xi'an's famous hand-rolled noodles, which come in various flavors, shapes, and sizes. There is also a famous cultural noodle dance when a chef, instead of rolling out noodles, waves a long strip of dough around in a dance before cooking the noodles.


  • The city is surrounded by a well-preserved city wall which was re-constructed in the Ming Dynasty. The area in which Xi'an sits is a relatively flat place, making travel on the wall relatively easy unlike the steep inclines of the Great Wall. It is also plenty wide enough to rent a bicycle and cruise along the wall without ruffling anyone's feathers.
  • The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) and his Terracotta Army are located 40 km to the east of the city's suburbs.
  • The city's Muslim quarter is home to the Great Mosque of Xi'an.
  • The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda are both spectacular towers and both are well over 1000 years old and have mostly survived great earthquakes. The former is next to a large square with many fountains that rise and fall in time to music during one of the daily performances.
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Xi'an's GDP was RMB 127 billion and GDP per capita was RMB 16,180 (US$2,025) in 2005, ranked no. 39 among 659 Chinese cities. [1] Xi'an is the most industrialized and developed city in northwestern China. Xi'an has also consistently received one of the largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) amounts among cities in western China. [2]



Shaanxi Television broadcasts on numbered channels 1 through 8 and a satellite television.

Xi'an Television broadcasts on numbered channels 1 through 6.

Shaanxi Radio serves Xi'an and the surrounding Shaanxi province area with music and news.


Chinese Business View (华商报) is a local popular newspaper.


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Xi'an has one major railway station: Xi'an Railway Station. Other railway stations are Xi'an West Railway Station, Xi'an East Railway Station, Sanmincun Railway Station, Fangzhicheng Railway Station, Xi'an North Railway Station (Chang'an Railway Station), and Xi'an North Railway Station (under construction).

Xi'an is a railway hub. There are railway lines from Xi'an to Nanjing, Baotou, Ankang, Yan'an.


Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, located in the northwest of Xi'an near Xiangyang, is Xi'an's main airport. It is the biggest airport in Northwest China. Chang'an Airlines is the main airline based in Xi'an.

Public BusEdit

There are more than 200 bus routes in Xi'an.


A subway construction project, designed 7 lines, is planned to be completed by 2009.

Sister citiesEdit

Xi'an's sister cities are:

Colleges and UniversitiesEdit

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Xi'an is known as one of the academic centers in China. The number of institutions is the third only after Beijing and Shanghai. The private institutions are famous in the country.



  • Xi'an Eurasia University (西安欧亚学院)
  • Xi'an Fanyi University (西安翻译学院)
  • Xi'an Peihua University (西安培华学院)
  • Xi'an Siyuan University (西安思源学院)

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

For details, see List of universities in mainland China

Additional ImagesEdit

Gates of City Wall, Bell Tower, and Drum TowerEdit

Big & Small Wild Goose PagodaEdit

External linksEdit


Preceded by:
Capital of China (as Chang'an)
206 BC-23
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Capital of China (as Daxing)
Succeeded by:
itself, as Chang'an
Preceded by:
itself, as Daxing
Capital of China (as Chang'an)
Succeeded by:


Template:Major Cities of Greater China

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