I lived in Xian for some four years of my life and I thought I would like to share with the bukisa community what a wonderful place it is, granted it does have it’s down sides, the city is a little backward, and a little polluted, but if you’re only going for a short trip you shouldn’t let this bother you. When to visit, let me see, I’d say to go in Autumn or Spring is best, Summer can get a little hot and is the rainy season when the streets may flood, and Winter is rather cold, but there is rarely any snow.
Some of the great things about Xian? The food is great, a little spicy, but wonderful, there is a Muslim quarter with nice kebabs and noodles, and plenty of other mouth-watering food. There is also a nice snack called a “row-ja-more” which is like a Chinese hamburger that you can buy on the street, the food is great and very cheap!
Next is the History, Chinese people tell me that the city was capital of China during 13 different dynasties, including the Tang Dynasty which was one of the most powerful and prosperous dynasties of China, at that time Xian had a massive population of 1 million people! Today it has about 6 million people and is quite crowded.
Things to see.
The terracotta warrior- hundreds of soldiers all lined up to protect Qinshi Huang, the first Emperor to unite all of China, this is really cool and huge and breath-taking, the soldiers all are different, their facial features probably modeled on real soldiers from that time.
The city wall, the city centre is still surrounded by a long city wall that is still in tact, there are massive gates that the transportation goes through to enter and exist the city. You can even rent a bike and ride around the top of the wall and see the scenery from above.
The Imperial Springs- these natural springs, on the way to the terracotta warriors, where used before by members of the imperial court for bathing, they’ve been well maintained and you can visit there. This is also the site of a famous incident in pre-communist China, when the leader of the Nationalist party was kidnapped by one of his own supporters to force him to negotiate with the Communists. There are still bullet holes in the walls where soldiers fought before he was captured.
The history museum- a huge museum with heaps of artifacts from Xian’s long history, some locals told me that farmers are always digging up old artifacts in Xian, in fact the terracotta warriors were found by a farmer who was digging for a well!
The big and small wild goose pagoda- these are Buddhist shrines, but you can still go and climb up the structures there is some linkage between the big goose pagoda and a monk who brought holy scriptures back from India, which is the basis of the story about the monkey king.
The Banpo museum, this is the actual unearthed remains of a village from the stone age, it’s quite an interesting visit, I’d recommend it as a lot is on display and it is quite well documented.
Not far from the Southern city gates there is also a huge market place with Chinese paintings, and other fun souvenirs to pick up, just remember to bargain!