Xi'an, pronounced “She-ahn” and also known as Xian, is the capital of Shaanxi province in central China. It is steeped in history and a must for anyone on a tour of China. Not only was it the cultural and political capital of China for hundreds of years, but Xi'an was also the beginning point of the Silk Road leading west, so it is a very exciting place for sightseeing in China and will be found in most China travel packages and comes highly recommended by Chinese travel consultants.
The most interesting part of the city of Xian itself, for those on a tour of China, is the area inside the city wall. This is the old part of town and inside are the Bell and Drum Towers, huge towers from the Ming era, built to house the city's bell and drum. Those on a China vacation can easily spend a day inside this area. Visitors may rent bikes and ride along the walls peering down onto daily Xi'an life, or, after they have wandered around the towers, they may stroll into the Muslim quarter, snack on street food and find a bargain in the markets.
However, most visitors on a tour of China visit Xi'an primarily to see the terracotta army. People travel to China from all over the world to see this amazing sight. Emperor Qin Shi Huang founded the Qin dynasty and united China into one country.
The terracotta army guards his burial site and protects his entry into the afterlife and was discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well. It is estimated that the tomb took thirty eight years to build between 247BC and 208BC and is a must for anyone considering a China tour. It was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.
Why not view our articles about vacations in China. All the major places such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Guilin, Hangzhou, Sanya, Suzhou, Xiamen, Nanjing are covered. If you're planning a vacation in China be sure to check out these pages.