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City Guides / Guides

Top things to do in Xi’an

By Minjun Xu

July 26

The historic capital of Xi’an is renowned both for its splendid cultural relics and tasty food. Let’s go back in time to ancient China. (Don’t worry, just temporarily).

The historic capital of Xi’an is renowned both for its splendid cultural relics and tasty food. Let’s go back in time to ancient China. (Don’t worry, just temporarily).

As the starting point of the Silk Road during the Han and Tang dynasties, Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, is famous for its abundant cultural relics.

1/7 Wander in Tang Paradise 大唐芙蓉园

Tang Paradise [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Peng Hua]
Tang Paradise [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Peng Hua]
Located at the site of an earlier Tang Dynasty garden complex, Tang Paradise is a large theme park with modern reconstructions of local architecture during the Tang dynasty.

Entry: 120 yuan/person (Peak-season); 90 yuan/person (Off-season)

2/7 Giant Wild Goose Pagoda 大雁塔

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Peng Hua]
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Peng Hua]
As a masterpiece of early Tang Dynasty Buddhist architecture, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built to hold sutras brought to China from India by the famous monk Xuanzang. The view from the top of the pagoda overlooks the city. The nightly musical fountain show in front of the pagoda is dazzling.

Entry: 50 yuan/person

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.-17:00 p.m.

3/7 Bell Tower of Xi’an 西安钟楼

Bell Tower of Xi’an [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
Bell Tower of Xi’an [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
The iconic Bell Tower of Xi’an was originally built during the early Ming Dynasty. The grandest ancient bell tower in China, its bells have witnessed the twists and turns of Xi’an’s history.

Entry: 35 yuan/person

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.-22:00 p.m. (April-Oct.); 8:00 a.m.-17:30 p.m. (Nov.-March)

4/7 Visit Shaanxi History Museum 陕西历史博物馆

Shaanxi History Museum [Image Credit: Chinanews.com]
Shaanxi History Museum [Image Credit: Chinanews.com]
Located northwest of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum lets visitors appreciate a slew of cultural relics of ancient China. It houses over 370,000 items, ranging from primitive stone implements to intricate pottery.

5/7 Try Xi’an Cuisine 西安小吃

Roujiamo [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Peng Hua]
Roujiamo [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Peng Hua]
Xi’an cuisine, which combines local Shaanxi cooking with northwestern Chinese styles, is well-known for its sour and spicy flavor. Home to many ethnic groups during the Tang Dynasty, Xi’an was influenced heavily by Islamic culture in particular, so go to its Muslim Quarter for most distinct local dishes and snacks.

6/7 Muslim Quarter 回民街

Muslim Quarter [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Guo Zhihua]
Muslim Quarter [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Guo Zhihua]
The Muslim Quarter consists of several old streets and, as a central part of Xi’an’s history, is a must-see spot during your trip. Besides tasty Muslim dishes like Roujiamo and Paomo, you can try on ethnic costumes and browse the handicrafts.

7/7 Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor & Terracotta Army 秦始皇陵兵马俑

The Terracotta Army [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Jihu]
The Terracotta Army [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Jihu]
The Terracotta Army needs no introduction. In close running with the Great Pyramid of Giza for the title of the world’s most famous tomb, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor contains a vast clay army with each soldier looking unique. They are there to protect their emperor in the afterlife. The army and mausoleum are inscribed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO and have been considered as candidates for the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Entry: 150 yuan/person

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