Xian is in China’s fertile lowlands. It is most famous for the discovery in 1974 of the Terracotta Warriors, and is one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. This city is home to one of China’s largest mosques and has been inhabited for over 6000 years.
Xian is probably the central most important city in Chinese history and so it is most famous for the large number of historic sites, and museums that outline the rich history of the area. Many dynasties both started and fell from this city.
There are five main museums in Xian. The Forest of Stele was setup during the Tang Dynasty and in 1090 during the Song Dynasty was turned into a Confucian temple. This museum now holds the oldest collection of steles in china. A stele is a stone that is stood upright and has been inscribed with calligraphy. There is so many of these steles that it is referred to as a forest!
Mentioned earlier in this article was the Terracotta Warriors. Well the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and the Museum of the Qin Terracotta Figures display artifacts from the Qin dynasty including the terracotta warriors. The mausoleum was in fact an underground palace and it is said that 700,000 people worked on its construction of 36 years. The vaults where discovered between 1974 and 1976. In 1979 the actual museum was constructed and the artifacts where put on display.
The three remaining museums that are of interest to tourists are the Big Goose Pagoda, The Small Goose Pagoda, and the Banpo Museum. The Big, Goose and Small Goose temples where built around 653 and 707 AD respectively and feature artifacts from the Buddhist monks and their scriptures. The Banpo museum was built in 1954 to cover and protect the site of five excavations and occupying an area of 33,400 square feet.
Needless to say, Xian is an ideal place for those interested in the rich history of China to visit. Anyone wishing to plan tours or vacations to Xian would be well advised to consult with a travel agent in order to ensure they get the most out of their visit.