Discover and explore the ancient city of Xian in the Shaanxi Province
Xian, is a very ancient city of China. It has served as a capital city for 11 dynasties over a period of 1,100 years, longer than any other ancient capital city in China. Xian has 3,100 years of history and is one of the oldest cities in China.
In more recent times archeological finds have added greatly to the history and cultural significance of Xian. A discovery in 1963 of Lantian Man in Lantian County, 50km southeast of Xian, dates back 500,000 years previously. In 1954 on the outskirts of the city, a 6,500 year old Banpo Neolithic village was discovered.
More recently in 1974, the Terra Cotta Warriors were discovered by local farmers in the Lintong District of Xian, while they were digging a well. This location is near the Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor. These terracotta sculptures depict the armies of the First Emperor of China and date from 210BC.
Xian in Shaanxi is one of the original four great ancient Capitals of China
Prior to the Ming Dynasty, Xian was known as Chang’an. The name of the city has been changed many times over the centuries. Xian is one of the original four great Ancient Capitals of China, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang Dynasties. The four great ancient Capitals of China traditionally are considered to be Beijing, Nanjing, Luoyang and Chang’an (Xian).
The Bell Tower Hotel, Xian City
Arriving in Xian we transferred to our hotel, the Bell Tower Hotel, located within the old Ming City Walls. I could hardly wait to discover and explore all that Xian had to offer.
We had an excellent view from our room of the main street, the Bell and Drum Tower, as well as a recreation area with a glass pyramid opposite the Hotel. The locals would practice their Tia Chi in front of the glass pyramid every morning. The glass pyramid is the skylight for a below ground shopping area. Breakfasts at our hotel were really nice; buffet style with plenty of variety and fresh fruits.
About Xian City in the Shaanxi Province
Xian means ‘Western Peace’. It has a population of over 8 million people and is situated close to the banks of the Yellow River. Xian is the capital of the Shaanxi Province. Xian was the capital for China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang (221BC) and has a history dating back 1000BC. Xian was also the starting point for the famous trade route known as the Silk Road.
About the ancient City Wall Xian
Our first view of the Xian City wall as we drove in, was most impressive. We had the opportunity to explore the old Ming City wall later that morning. The Xian City Walls (Ming Dynasty-1368-1627), are an extension of the old Tang Dynasty structure (618-907). After the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang or Emperor Hongwu (1370-1378) began to enlarge the city wall and it became the modern Xian City Wall we see today.
The first city wall of Xian was built of earth, quick lime, and glutinous rice extract (sticky rice) mixed together, rammed layer upon layer on top of one another, making an extremely strong wall. Later the wall was completely enclosed with bricks. A wide, deep moat ran around the city walls to add to its fortification. Today, areas around the city walls have been beautified with parks and gardens.
The Wall stands 12 metres tall, 12-14 metres wide at the top and 15-18 metres thick at the bottom. It is 13.7 kilometers in length and surrounded by a deep moat. This is what stands today and is the most complete city wall to have survived in China through the centuries. Since we didn’t get an opportunity in Beijing to explore the Walls of the Forbidden City, we were excited to walk on top of this great wall and marvel at its width, height and the structure.
The Xian Ming City wall encircles the city in a rectangle with one gate on each side. On the wall, fortifications such as watch towers, turrets, ramparts and gate towers are all part of the defense system.The Ming City Wall in Xian, Shaanxi is also considered to be one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.
There are special vehicles available for hire on top of the wall, if you don’t wish to explore on foot. There are also bicycle’s for hire if you fancy cycling around the wall at your leisure. Both are relatively inexpensive.
Discover some of the important events which are held on the Xian city wall.
Don’t forget it is very helpful to read up on the places you will visit that are on your itinerary of a small group tour. You will gain so much more insight to these exciting places if you have some knowledge of them before hand.
Xian City Wall International Marathon Event, Shaanxi Province
The Xian City Wall International Marathon is one of the most important annual games held in Xian and has become an international sporting event.The last Marathon was held on Xian City Wall on November 6th, 2010. The Xian City Wall International Marathon has been held 16 times. It was held first in 1993. Since then a total of more than 35,000 people have participated over the years. This total includes some 6,000 foreign athletes who came from more than 50 counties to compete.
Xian City Wall Lantern Festival
Traditional Chinese architecture the ‘Palace Hotel’.
Look for this fabulous old hotel built in a traditional Chinese architectural style, which we could see from top of the old Xian City Wall. Can anyone provide me with any history on this hotel? I would loved to have had a peek inside.
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