August 26, 2009

 

Xian, the eternal city, records the great changes of the Chinese nation just like a living history book. Called Chang’an in ancient times, Xian is one of the birthplaces of the ancient civilization in the Yellow River Basin area of the country. During Xian’s 3,100 year development, 13 dynasties such as Western Zhou (11th century BC – 771 BC), Qin (221 BC – 206 BC), Western Han (206 BC – 24 AD) and Tang (618 – 907) placed their capitals here. So far, Xian enjoys equal fame with Athens, Cairo, and Rome as one of the four major ancient civilization capitals.

Xian is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the southern part of the Guanzhong Plain. With the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north, it is in a favorable geographical location surrounded by water and hills. It has a semi-moist monsoon climate and there is a clear distinction between the four seasons. Except the colder winter, any season is relatively suitable for traveling.

The cultural and historical significance of the area, as well as the abundant relics and sites, help Xian enjoy the laudatory title of ‘Natural History Museum’. The Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is praised as ‘the eighth major miracle of the world’, Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is listed on the World Heritage List, and the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) is the largest and most intact Ming Dynasty castle in the world. In the city, there is the 3,000 year old Banpo Village Remains from the Neolithic Age (approximately from 8000 BC to 5000 BC), and the Forest of Stone Steles that holds 3,000 stone steles of different periods from the Han Dynasty to the    Qing Dynasty. Around Xian, the Famen Temple enjoys the reputation of being the ‘forefather of pagodas and temples in Central Shaanxi,’ because it holds the finger bones of Sakyamuni — the founder of Buddhism. The natural landscape around Xian is also marvelous. Mt.Huashan one of the five best-known mountains in China, is famous for its breath-taking cliffs and its unique characteristics.

Traditional downtown Xian refers to the area encircled by the city wall, this has now been expanded to encompass the area within the second ring road (Er’ huan Lu). The Bell Tower is the geographical center of Xian and the four main streets are respectively Dong Dajie, Xi Dajie, Nan Dajie and Bei Dajie which are also the main commercial streets. Xiao Zhai, the busiest commercial area is in the southern part of the city and is popular with both youths and students since many universities are located here. Shuyuan Men and the still under construction Luoma Shi are must-visit pedestrian streets in the city. Xian is also famous for its quantity of colleges throughout China. The old campuses of many colleges and universities are massed in the southern suburb of Xian, but most have established new campuses in far southern suburb – Chang’an District due to the lack of space within the city.

Climate
Xi’an is situated in the center of the Guanzhong Plains, surrounded by Mountains in the south and the Wei River in the north. Xi’an is also a city blessed with a pleasant climate most of the year round and it’s possible to pleasurably visit this city at almost any time of the year.
The coldest month here is January, with an average temperature of O degrees C although Xi’an has only a minimal snow level. 
The hottest and most unpleasant month is June, with an average temperature of 26 degrees C. The summers here can also be very dry so make sure you have plenty of drinking water with you when you go sightseeing!! The average temperature for the year is 13 degrees C.

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