Xián is one of the oldest cities in China. Known as the starting point of the Silk Road, in modern China, Xián has emerged as an important cultural hub for China. Many tourist often add a few days in Xián as part of their trip to Beijing. This is not surprising considering that it only takes 4.5 hours to travel to Xián from Beijing via the High Speed Train. Xián’s claim to fame is the Terracotta Army Statues of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, however there are more than meets the eye with this up and coming Chinese megacity. Here are 6 unmissable reasons why you should have the amazing city of Xián, China in your bucket list.
The terracotta warriors exhibit was one of our bucket list items and we were ecstatic to have finally seen it. It is a must see attractions if you are visiting China. The terracotta army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
The terracotta army exhibits is located an hour away from Xian City Center by bus. The exhibition museum is huge with 4 separate displays, Pit 1, 2, 3 and the the Exhibition of Bronze Chariots. Here, you don’t only see thousands of the amazingly lifelike terracotta soldiers, they also discovered hundreds of chariots and horses to ‘accompany’ these soldiers.
At the exhibit, you get to see the statue up close which is pretty cool. The workmanship of these statues is mind-boggling as they look so lifelike!
Huashan National Park
If you are a thrill seeker and have the extra time to travel out of Xián city, then lo and behold, Xian has what is known as the ‘most dangerous hiking trail in the world’. Sounds so exciting right? Mount Hua is located around 2 hours drive from Xian city. It is accessible by train or the bus.
There are four different routes available to get to the top of the mountain. Depending on the route, it takes around 2 to 6 hours to hike. If you don’t have much time or inclination to hike, there are cable cars on the North and the West sections of the mountain. During peak season, it cost ¥180 for National Park entry fee and separate fees for cable car access.
Now, the thrill seeking and most dangerous hike part. Here, you can complete Plank Walk or Plank Road in the Sky Walk where you are provided with a lanyard (for a fee). Here you can walk along a set of narrow reinforced steel bars, inching your way towards the cliff . Not for the faint-hearted!
Xian City Wall
Xi’an City Wall, or also known as The fortifications of Xi’an, is one of the largest, oldest and best preserved City Walls in China. This is an amazing historical structure which is best seen on foot or while riding a bicycle. It has everything a historical structure has to offer, a moat, watchtowers, drawbridges, parapet walls and gate towers. From the wall, you can see yourself surrounded by modern constructions and high rise buildings of Xi’an City which stretches for miles.
Food Galore at the Muslim Street
The Muslim Quarter in Xi’an is a hub for the Muslim community in Xi’an. Unlike any other cities in China, the Muslim community in Xi’an is vibrant and active. This traces back to Xi’an being the first city in China to officially allowed the practice of Islam in 651 AD under the Tang Dynasty. This has since made Xi’an home to a large Chinese Muslim community.
The Muslim Quarter is different than any other food market we have been to. The food style made available here are from the Hui Chinese Ethnics, which is very difficult to find anywhere else in China bar places like Xian, Ninxia and Tibet. Majority of Chinese Muslim food you find in China are from the Ughyur Chinese Community. Hence, this is a great opportunity to sample some of Hui Chinese best dishes. There are tons of local street food to be found at the Beiyuanmen Muslim Street. They smell, looks and taste amazing. Some of the foods not to be missed are, lamb skewers, roast chickens and the spiced beef flatbread.
Not only that, there are also plenty of shops selling souvenirs, clothing , toys and knick-knacks.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda goes way back to 1300 years. Built during the Tang Dynasty, this Buddhist landmark stands at 64 meters high. For an entry fee of ¥80 , you can enter the Dacién Temple and ascend the Pagoda. Expect to see many ancient cultural relics here.That said, night time is a great time to see the Pagoda as the light displays on the Pagoda and the daily light shows from the Music Fountain is sure to entertain.
Tips : Light shows are not available during winter season
Bell and the Drum Tower of Xian
Not to far from the Muslim Street is the Bell Tower of Xian. The Bell Tower is the largest wooden tower of its kind in China. It was built during the Ming Dynasty was a way to assert control over its people. The Drum tower of Xian is located northwest of the Bell Tower, within walking distance. The drum tower is built where the drums were used as an alarm during emergency situations.