Xi'an Travel Guide

Browse 86 travel reviews, 132 travel blogs and 7,297 travel photos from real travelers to Xi'an. Also known as: Xian

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Xi'an Overview

Xi'an (pronounced she-ann) is a city utterly steeped in history, you’ll find yourself wandering around in awe. Whether you’re marveling at the famous Terracotta Warriors, picturing the caravans at the end of the Silk Road trotting through the city amongst a swirl of desert dust, or drifting around the city walls looking down on it all, the experience is unique, and at the same time utterly overwhelming.

Most people head here for the Terracotta Warriors, and you’ll soon learn the legions of the First Emperor’s finest seem to stretch almost indefinitely, featuring numerous ranks, each with their own facial features. The incredible army accompanied the first emperor into the afterlife; you’ll also come across plenty of yet to be reconstructed soldiers, and even a factory that churns out replicas (try and dodge the gift shop) should you choose to explore further.

Contrary to popular belief, though, it isn’t entirely about the warriors. Hiring a bike and cruising around the 15km city wall gives some interesting views on real-world China. There are plenty of interesting Muslim sights to explore, too, which date back to a Muslim influx in the days of the Silk Road. The simple, well hidden but soaring tower of the Great Mosque is worth tracking down, as is Muslim Street, where you can snap up some astonishing art and even try some less than appetizing food, like sheep intestines.

Xian is nested between a flood plain created by 8 surrounding rivers and streams, most of which have been too polluted to be used as sources of fresh water. The city borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountain Ranges to the south, and the banks of Wei River to the north.The city covers approximately 16,808 km² of urban area.

The more Chinese style attractions are impressive, too, like The Shaanxi Museum (which is free - but expect a long wait to get in - and contains plenty of assorted but interesting historic exhibits), The Bampa Museum (an excavated Neolithic village), the many layers of Big Goose Pagoda or the Emperor’s impressive hot springs resort.Also you can visit Xian Museum.

The city of Xi’an itself is actually something of a modern beehive, and is unlikely to inspire, but anyone with even the vaguest interest in history could occupy themselves here for a fortnight without the slightest feeling of tedium. This city practically oozes historical class, and even if it does feel like something of a tourist trail, you’d be crazy to miss it.

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