Guide (English) >Xi'an (English)
City of Xi'an, otherwise Chang'an (ever - lasting peace) in ancient
times and situated in the middle of the Guanzhong Plain, is the capital
of Shananxi Province.
Xi'an is a noted city and was one of the oldest cities. Beginning
in 1126 B. C., the Western Zhou, the Qin, the Western Han, the Sui
and the Tang, altogether 12 dynasties, set up their capitals in Xi'an
for more than 1000 years. So, there are many cultural relics and historic
sites both on and under the ground.
Dayan Tower (The Big Wild Goose Pagoda) has been used for the safekeeping
of the scriptures and Buddha's statues brought back by Monk Xuanzang
of the Tang Dynastyfrom India. It was built in the Great Ci'en Monastery
of the Tang Dynasty in 652 A. D., composed of 7 store 64 meters in
height. It is of high architectural art. Above the stone doors at
the bottom of the tower, there remain the exquisite line - etched
pictures from the Tang Dynasty. One can spiral up the tower and look
around the whole view of city. It is the symbol of Xi'an.
Bell Tower stands in the center of the city of Xi'an and was built
in 1582. It is 1377.64 square meters in area and 36 meters in height.
Its base in a square shape is built of gray bricks and the tower is
in the architectural form of timber structure with triple water drips
(i.e. triple eaves) and a pavilion roof. It is covered with dark green
glazed tiles, applied with gold size and painted in dark green, looking
splendid in green and gold. It is called the bell tower because an
iron bell is hung in the tower to give the correct time.
City Gates and City Walls of Xi'an
preserved city walls of Xi'an were built in 1374 A.D. on the basis
of the city of Changan in the TangDynasty. They are 11.9 kilometers
in girth with the top widths of 12 to 14 meters. They are one of China's
most historically - known city wall buildings remaining from the later
stage of the Middle Ages. They are built of gray bricks and kept intact.
The gate tower built over each of the four city gates and painted
in dark green, which look lofty and magnificent and from a tight defence
Huaing Pools (The Huangqing Hot Springs of "Nine Dragons Hot
Springs") are a famous scenic hot spring spot of Xi'an with a
history of more than 3000 years and were used by ancient emperors
as their imperial villa and excursion center. King Youwang of the
Zhou Dynasty built the Lishan Palace here. Emperor Shihuang of the
Qin Dynasty built a house and a pool of stone and named them the "Goddess
Hot Springs". Emperor Wendi of the Sui Dynasty expanded the facilities.
Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty transformed the hot spring wells
into pools which were enclosed in the palace rooms, so they are known
as the Huaqing Palace or the Huaqing Pools where Emperor Xuanzong
and his concubine Yang amused themselves. From then on, "the
Nine Dragons Hot Springs", "the Chengxiang Hall", etc,
have been additionally built. In the Xi'an Incident in December.1936,
patriotic generals Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng arrested Chiang
Kai - shek hore.
Pavilion of Steles in the Forest of Steles
is the location of the cream of ancient steles in Xi'an and the treasure
- house of the Chinese calligraphic art. It was founded in Yuanyou
5th year (1090) of the Northern Song Dynasty. It now has a collection
of more than 2300 steles through the dynasties of the Han, Wei, Jin,
Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing. Among others, on display here
are the famous "Cao Wuan Stele" of the Han Dynasty, "Sima
Fang Stele" of the Jin Dynasty, "Shi Tai Xiao Classics Steles"
of the Tang Dynasty, "Kaicheng Stone Classics Steles" of
the Tang Dynasty and the "Stele of Nestorianist Popularity in
China" of the Tang Dynasty and other most famous steles inscribed
by great calligraphers of the Tang Dynasty including Ouyang Xun, Chun
Sui Liang. Yan Zhen Qing, Liu Gong Quan and so on.
Shihuang (259 - 210 B.C.) founded the first unified centralized feudal
dynasty in China in 221 B.C. After his death, he was buried at the
northern foot of Lishan Mountain at Lintong District, 35 kilometers
away from the city of Xi'an. This is a tomb hill built by ramming
the earth and up to now there remains an earth tomb 47 meters in height
with the bottom of 485 × 515 meters. The cemetery is divided into
the inner and outer cities with the inner one 2525.4 meters in girth
and the outer one 6294 meters in girth. There is a great abundance
of exotic treasures in the ground palace of the inner city.
Terra - Cotta Soldier and Horse Figures
indication of the probable magnitude and grandeur of the not - yet
- excavated mausoleum is the vaults containing an army of guards for
the first emperor which have been discovered 1500 meters to the east
of the tomb. Commune members digging an irrigation well made the first
discovery by chance in 1974 of what is now called Vault No. 1, a huge
underground chamber containing six thousand terracotta soldiers and
their horses and chariots, as grand as Qin Shi Huang's actual conquering
army. This is the most important revelation in recent Chinese archaeology,
both for its vast scale and for the realistic detail and aesthetic
achievement of the buried sculptures.
Taizong's son Li Zhi, who became the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty
and reigned from 650 until 683, was known as Emperor Gaozong. Upon
his death his ruthless wife intrigued to depose the next two rightful
heirs to the throne and established herself as Empress Wu Zetian (reigned
691 - 705). Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian were buried together
at the Qianling Tomb.
in Fufen County, somewhere 118 km from Xi'an, Shaanxi Fanmen Temple
was originally built in 300 A. D. in the Eastern Han Dynasty.
It is said Emperor Ah Yu of Tian Zhu (Hindu) for explaining and
propagating the doctrine of Buddhism, buried the cremated ashes
of Buddha in 84000 pagodas to different places all over world.
Since there was the finger bones Sarira under the pagoda, Fanmen
Temple was well known all over the world and worshipped by numerous
pilgrims through the ages. It became an "Imperial Famen Temple"
for imperial kin's men and feudal nobles. Emperors and Empresses
worshipped Buddha here. It is recorded that all emperors of the
Tang Dynasty except Wu Zong believed in Buddha. At piping times
of peace, the door of the pagoda was opened every 30 years and the
Buddha's bone was taken to the palace for Consecration, Empresses
and ministers vied with each other in making donations.