As the country’s most ancient city – Xi’an has over 5,000 years of history under its belt and was once the imperial capital for 10 ancient dynasties – Xi’an is one of the hottest destinations to visit in China.
The city offers so many things to do and see, with its food scene a veritable feast for the senses and the scenery providing the perfect mix of old and new.
The locals of Xi’an are also super friendly and helpful, a fact that means Xi’an is not only China’s most popular tourist destination but a place you’ll want to visit time and time again.
Travellers counting down the days to their China trip will no doubt be busy devising an itinerary that does its many towns and cities justice. If Xi’an is on your radar, make sure you include the following on your list of must-sees.
We thought we’d begin our rundown with the most obvious attraction in Xi’an – the Terracotta Army. As one of the eight wonders of the world, it’s a must-see when staying in Xi’an, with all 8,000 warriors, their horses and thousands of bronze weapons a sight to behold. The history behind this amazing discovery is fascinating too as Lonely Planet explains:
“The Terracotta Army isn’t just Xi’an’s premier sight, it’s one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. This subterranean life-size army of thousands has silently stood guard over the soul of China’s first unifier for more than two millennia.
Either Qin Shi Huang was terrified of the vanquished spirits awaiting him in the afterlife, or as most archaeologists believe, he expected his rule to continue in death as it had in life.”
The vast tomb was also rigged with booby traps and decorated with precious jewels to create an underground palace fit for an emperor. Read more about the fascinating history of the Terracotta Army.
This beautifully preserved temple has stood for over 1,300 years but it’s not just the temple that’s worth a visit. The surrounding landscape offers stunning views as far as the eye can see. Its majestic North Plaza is also home to an impressive fountain – don’t miss its musical performance.
Xi’an City Wall
Situated at the end of the ancient Silk Road – a historic network of trade links that connected Asia with Europe and the Mediterranean – the Xi’an City Wall is a great way to step back in time while admiring this beautiful city.
The wall itself has a remarkable history and is one of the largest military defences not just in China but the world. It is now the most complete city wall in the country.
You can see the city wall on foot or by battery car, but the best way to see it in all its glory is by bike. You can rent a bike from the stunning South Gate (also known as the Yongning Gate), so start your sightseeing tour there.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Xi’an city and journey to nearby Mount Huashan. A day trip exploring this mountain isn’t for the fainthearted.
It’s well known as being one of the most dangerous mountains in the whole of China. If you’re ready for a challenge, however, you’ll be rewarded by the most magnificent views.
Now your Xi’an itinerary is sorted, it’s time to get packing. Read our guide to packing for your trip to China for the latest advice.