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What to see in Xi An

Xi An Attractions

Xi'an is a treasure trove for travellers interested in archaeology and ancient Chinese history. The Shaanxi Provincial History Museum stands as testament to the importance of this region in the development of Chinese culture. The museum houses about 370,000 artefacts collected in the area and is well worth a visit. Another exciting archaeological site is the Banpo Village, which dates back over 6, 000 years and is one of the most well-preserved and complete examples of an agricultural Neolithic settlement in the world. Xi'an is also home to the Forest of Steles, a collection of 3,000 steles (stone tablets and ancient inscriptions) collected over the centuries in a library which is a haven for travelling scholars or anyone interested in the history of language and the written word.

Of course, when it comes to sightseeing, Xi'an is synonymous with its foremost attraction: the famous Terracotta Army Museum. The collection of nearly 8,000 warriors, unearthed in 1974 is a not-to-be-missed experience for any visitor to China. The recently opened Tomb of Emperor Jingdi in Xi'an also displays a number of terracotta statues and it is a far less crowded museum. On the way to the Terracotta Army it is a good idea to stop off at the Huaqing Hot Springs to bathe in the same pools used by ancient emperors and their concubines.

The Xi'an city wall is one of the largest in the world and hiring a bicycle to cycle along the top is a wonderful introduction to the city. Travellers can also walk the wall, stopping along the way to take some amazing photographs of both ancient buildings and new age skyscrapers.

Banpo Village Remains

On the outskirts of Xi'an city, on the bank of the Chanhe River, are the remains of the ancient settlement of Banpo, dating from about 5000 BC. The remains were discovered in 1953 by workers laying…

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Forest of Steles

Though there are many collections of steles (stone tablets) in China, only Xi'an's is large enough to warrant being called a forest. There are more than 3,000 ancient steles in this library, dating…

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Great Mosque

The Great Mosque is the pride of China's Islamic community and is a popular tourist attraction. The mosque is near the Drum Tower in the Islamic residential area. Islam came to China along with Arab…

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Huaqing Hot Springs

The Huaqing Hot Springs, located about 22 miles (35km) east of Xi'an city, at the base of the Lishan Mountains, is where the ancient emperors bathed and relaxed in scenic surroundings. Huaqing is one…

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Qin Terracotta Army Museum

In 1974, a group of peasants digging a well north of Mount Lishan in Lintong county, about 18 miles (30km) from Xi'an, unearthed fragments of a life-sized warrior figure. Because the site of the discovery…

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Shaanxi Provincial History Museum

The graceful complex of buildings that constitute the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum in Xi'an's southern suburbs is built in the style of a Tang Dynasty pavilion, and is itself a sight worth seeing.…

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