Attractions in Xi’an City can be classified into four blocks by their locations. Making it clear where every attraction is will help you enjoy the perfect Beijing Xian one day tour. Here we would like to introduce our guests with some most-visited spots and the locations of them in Xi’an for references. The attractions are presented by their locations but not by the degree of popularity. Visitors can either watch the two towers outside or ascend them to feel it inside. There are Drum Show in the Drum Tower and ancient Chinese Bell Show in the Bell Tower being performed for free several times each day. If you visit them in right time, the performances will greatly feast your eyes.
Within Downtown Xi’an
Bell Tower and Drum Tower
Bell Tower stands in the very center of downtown Xi’an where the North Street, the South Street, the West Street and the East Street meet. Being built in the Ming Dynasty which existed from 1368AD to 1644AD, it used to house a huge bell for striking time in the morning in ancient times. It is now regarded as the landmark-building in Xi’an. 300 meters west to the Bell tower stands another magnificent building, the Drum Tower. The Drum Tower was built also in the Ming Dynasty, but it is four years older than the Bell Tower. There used to be a huge drum in the tower which told the time and at dusk as well gave warnings.
Muslim Street & Great Masque
Behind the Drum Tower you will find the well-known Muslim Street. Walking along the street, various Chinese-styled tiny tourist souvenirs and delicious local snacks, especially the local Muslim Snacks will fill your view field. The popular souvenirs like imitations of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Leather Shadow Figures, and Paper-cuttings are all available. Many of the souvenir shop-keepers can speak simple English. Snacks like Shredded Pancakes in Mutton or Beer Broth, casserole, Rou Jia Mo (Chinese hamburger), cured Mutton and Beef, Rice-date Paste, cold noodles, and Pancakes Baked in Wok are also good to try. But be careful to try these local snacks because some foreign friends are not suited to their tastes.
Finishing the Muslim rambling, to the end of the street, the Great Masque is in front of you. The Great Mosque is the major spot for religious activities for over 70 000 Moslems in Xi’an. Unlike the most Mosques in Arabia with splendid domes, skyward minarets, and dazzling patterns, this Masque assumes the typical features of Chinese pavilions, with painted beams and engraved ridgepoles.
House of Family Gao
The Courtyard of Family Gao in the Muslim Street is also known as No 144 dwelling house of Bei Yuan Men. The house was constructed in brick-and-timber structure. It consists of three courtyards, including totally 86 rooms and now 56 of the rooms have been opened to tourists. The main construction of the house was originally built in the Ming Dynasty as official residence for a government offer whose family name was Gao. In the House of Family Gao, you will appreciate the architectural art and furniture of the Ming and the Qing Dynasty, the traditional couplets on the columns of the halls, and brick carving art. Also in the House of Family Gao, there is a teahouse where you may taste some Chinese tea. There are around two Leather Shadow Performances been staged every, though it is performed in Chinese, you will see with your eyes how the shadow figures are handled. On the walls of the halls you will see some old pictures that present you the past scenes of Xi’an. Folk paper-cuttings, calligraphies and painting of celebrities, and Chinese porcelains are also waiting for your visit in the house.
Stone Forest Museum
The Forest of Stone Tablets was originally built in the year 1807, it consist of large quantity of century-old stone tablets. The numerous stone tablets looks almost like a forest, hence it was named as Forest of Stone Tablets. In the year 1950, it was extended into a museum with the name of Stone Forest Museum. The museum houses not only a collection of ancient Chinese calligraphy, but also a rich collection of historical documents and stone carvings of various styles in ancient China. The tablets are evidence to the cultural achievements recorded in ancient China and the cultural exchanges between ancient China and other nations.
Great City Wall
The Bell Tower and Drum Tower, Muslim Street and the Great Masque, House of Family Gao, and the Stone Forest Museum are all inside the Great City Wall. Four or five decade ago, the urban area in Xi’an only referred to the area inside the City Wall. Outside the City were farmland and villages. So until today citizens of Xi’an still call the area inside the City Wall as inner City and the area outside the Great Wall as outer city. Great City Wall in Xi’an was constructed in the Ming Dynasty by enlarging the royal city wall of the Tang Dynasty. The enlarged City Wall was built in the shape of a closed rectangle. It stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 15~18 meters (50~60 feet) wide at the bottom and 12~14 meters (40~46 feet) wide at the top. It extends 13.7 kilometers (some 8.5 miles) in length with a deep and wide moat surrounding outside at the foot. Visitors can ramble on the wall or cover it by a sightseeing car, while city wall biking is a popular choice for many young visitors to feel the beauty of this ancient wall.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Small Wild Goose Pagoda is housed in the Jian Fu Temple which locates to the south of the South Gate of Great City Wall. It is a well preserved Buddhist temple from the Tang Dynasty. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda are the only two survived constructions built in the Tang Dynasty. Small Wild Goose Pagoda was originally built in the year 707AD in the Tang Dynasty. It is three kilometers from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It looks basically like the Big Wild Goose Pagoda while it is smaller in scale, so it is named so. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was originally built with 15 layers at a height of 46 meters. Inside the pagoda is the wooden stairs by which visitors can ascend the pagoda to its top layer. The earthquakes in the Ming and the Qing Dynasties broke some pasts of the pagoda body, so today’s pagoda have only thirteen layers left and the top layer is not complete.
Shaanxi History Museum
Shaanxi History Museum is located on Cui Hua Road, one kilometer away northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The museum mainly displays the historical relics excavated inside Shaanxi Province. The unearthed historical artifacts exhibition is divided into different blocks in time order according to dynasties each artifact belongs to. The majors are the Prehistoric Age, the Zhou, the Qin, the Han, the Wei, the Jin, the South and North, the Sui and the Tang, the Song, the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing. Each artifact housed in the museum has an enchanting story. Since Xi’an was established as the national capital city by 13 dynasties or regimes for hundreds of years. To some extent, the ancient history of Shaanxi Province is a microcosm of Chinese History.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is situated in the Da Ci’en Temple, about four kilometers from the urban center, and it is fifteen minutes walking from Shaanxi History Museum. Da Ci’en Temple used to be the royal temple of the Tang Dynasty. The first abbot of Da Ci’en Temple is Master Xuanzang. In the year 625AD, to hosts Buddhist sutras and relics he brought from Tian Zhu( the ancient India), Master Xuan Zang proposed to the court that a pagoda should be built . With the approval of the royal court, Master Xuan Zang designed and built the pagoda. That Pagoda is the today’s Wild Goose Pagoda. A grand music fountain square that covers an area of 350 0000 square meters is built surrounding the Da Ci’en Temple. With music fountain and lighting as background, the pagoda looks magnificent.
Grand Tang Paradise
The Grand Tang Paradise is established nearby the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It is the first culture-oriented them park in the royal homestead style, bringing fourth the scene of the grand Tang Dynasty in different angles. It is situated to the north of the ruins of the Lotus Garden in the Tang Dynasty. The buildings inside the Grand Tang Paradise almost present all building types of the Tang Dynasty. And it possesses the most sizable aquatic-screen film in the world.
West to Downtown Xi’an
The Famen Temple is located 120 kilometers west of Xi’an. It was built in ancient times to house the finger bone relics of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. The finger bone relics discovered from the underground palace in Famen Temple is the only real finger relics of the Buddha that has been discovered and maintained in the world. Many other relics and artifacts were also unearthed from the underground palace. At present, the underground palace remains intact, and a passage for tourists’ visiting has being constructed in it. And in Famen Temple a museum was built according to the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty to house the unearthed treasures.
The Hangyangling Mausoleum seats on the bank of Weihe River in to the north suburban district of Xi’an City. The construction of the museum adopts the sunk structure in which way to protect the integrated environment of the mausoleum as well as possible. The Hangyangling Museum was built on the excavated site of the joint tomb of the Emperor Jing Di and his empress of the West Han Dynasty (202BC-9AD). Inside the museum some 18 000 historical relics are on display. The terracotta figures excavated in the Hangyangling Mausoleum caught the attention of many people. They are around 60 centimeters tall, only 1/3 of the actual height of real people. And they are all naked without arms upon their excavation. According to research, when these terracotta figures were buried in pits, they were dressed in costumes in various colors, and installed with wooden arms. Almost 2 500 years later, the clothing and the wooden arms were already decayed, leaving today with only naked and uncompleted bodys. Compared with the strong and alert terracotta figures of the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, these figures in Hanyangling Mausoleum are mild and leisured. That reflects the peaceful and friendly social environment of that period.
East to Downtown Xi’an
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum locates in the Lintong District, being 30 kilometers east from the urban area of Xi’an. Over 9/10 visitors to Xi’an will head to it. Some tourists even fly from other cities to Xi’an only to see Terracotta Warriors and Horses. It is a form of funerary art that belongs to mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of Din Dynasty. It is buried 1500 meters east of the Emperor’s Mausoleum in purpose of protecting Emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife. The terracotta figures here are all created in the size of the real soldiers, horses, and chariots. Some of them are even larger than the real ones. The excavated three pits cover a total area of more than 22 000 square meters and nearly 8 000 life sized terracotta figures were discovered.
On the way to Terracotta Warriors and Horses you will pass by the Huaqing Pool when you are almost arrived at the museum. . With Mount Li to its south and the Wei River to its north, it boasts the unique natural hot springs. The favorable geographical condition and natural environment make it a favorite place for emperors to build their palaces as a resort. Since ancient times, it has ever been a famous bathing and tourist destination.
The Banpo Museum is located in the eastern suburb of Xi’an, nine kilometers from the city. It houses the remains of a 6 000 years old village established in the Neolithic matriarchal clan community. The site was named Banpo because it was discovered near today’s Banpo Village. The site can be divided into three parts, namely residential zone, burial zone, and the pottery production zone. The museum will show you the living environment, surviving skills, social customs, burial methods, cooking methods, daily utensils, artifacts, decorating objects, etc of the primary matriarchal community.
Mount. Hua is located in south of Huayin city, Shaanxi province, about 120 kilometers (75 mi) east of Xi’an. It is also known as Taihua Mountain. Mount Hua is famous for its steep slope and precipitous cliffs, being composed of five main peaks, namely, Yuntai peak is north, Chaoyang peak in east, Luoyan peak in south, Lotus peak in west and Yunv peak in the middle, among which the highest is the South Peak at 2,154.9 meters (7,070 ft), while the east peak is a perfect stage for inspiring sun rise. To help visitors go up or down the mountain, passenger ropeways have been built in the north and west peaks respectively. Having a walk on top of Mount Hua, visitors will witness the beauty of the cloud sea. Besides, climbing Mount Hua on foot is a welcomed way to challenge oneself among young guys.
North to Xi’an City
Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River
The Hukou Waterfall of Yellow River is in North Shaanxi Province, 326 kilometers from Xi’an City. It is said to be the largest yellow waterfall in the world. This waterfall is well-known home and abroad for its impressive size and tameless looking. The Yellow River is the second largest river in China; it is also called as the Mother River of Chinese nation. When the Yellow River flows through Hukou area, the mountains on both sides limit the river to a narrow gill, so the river becomes much torrential when it falls down, arousing surging waves which like the spoiling water in water pot.