Xi’an in northwest China, the capital of Shaanxi province, is an ancient city once known as Chang’an, with a recorded history extending back more than two thousand years. Once the terminus of the Silk Road trade route across Central Asia, Xi’an has preserved several significant historic sites. The best known of these is the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who ordered his last resting place be guarded by thousands of life-like terracotta warriors. The city’s Ming Dynasty walls also remain intact.
Xi’an retains a lively and distinctive Muslim quarter, populated by some 50,000 Hui Chinese Muslims. There are seven mosques in Xi’an, the best known being the eighth-century Great Mosque.
At the Terracotta Warriors Museum, about an hour’s drive from the city centre, visitors marvel at the thousands of life-sized soldiers and horses created to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor to unite China under a single firm rule. About an hour’s drive from the city centre.
The 14th-century city wall is so wide that you can rent a bicycle and pedal right around the battlements.
The Xi’an Great Mosque was first built in 742 AD, during the Tang Dynasty era, and subsequently restored and extended in successive eras.