As the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, Xi’an has won a reputation all over the world. More than 3,000 years of history including over 1,100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties, have endowed the city with an amazing historical heritage. Travelers marvel at the numerous historical sites and cultural relics in the city.
Located in Huayin County in Shaanxi Province, Huashan is renowned for its steep cliff and overhanging rocks. Being one of the Five Sacred Mountains, Huashan is the most precipitous mountain in China. It has five imposing peaks with the northern one being the highest. Its caggedness is a challenge for climbers. Any climbers who claim themselves brave should climb Mt. Huashan at least once.
The Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
The Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses are world famous, attracting a large number of tourists from home and abroad to visit each year. However, they are only a part of the yet unexcavated mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang located to its west. Inside it, greater things are yet to come.
The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xi’an: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy. The imperial tomb is at the eye of the dragon. The emperor had chosen well.
Shaanxi History Museum
Situated on Xiaozhai East Road on the northwest side of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Shaanxi History Museum is the first modern national museum. It was built in 1983 and opened to the public in 1991. It covers 65,000 square meters (16 acres), of which 11,000 square meters (207 acres) belong to the exhibition halls and 8,000 square meters (about 2 acres) are used as warehouses for storing relics. Now 370,000 exhibits in the museum vividly show the history of over a million years from prehistoric times (1,150,000 years ago - 21st Century BC) to about 1840 AD.
The grand buildings imitate the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty with a two-storied central hall and four worship halls around it. The predominant colors of the halls are black, white and grey, which give the halls an atmosphere of solemnity and rustic charm.
Bell Tower of Xi’an
The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.
The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xian was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance.
The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.
It has three layers of eaves but only two stories. Inside, a staircase spirals up. The grey bricks of the square base, the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-plating on the roof and gilded color painting make the tower a colorful and dramatic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture. In addition to enhancing the beauty of the building, the three layers of eaves reduce the impact of rain on the building.