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INFORMATION OF XIAN

The city of Xian (population 6 million) was the first city in China to open up its doors to the Ancient world, not in 1980 under the "Open Door" policy but in fact during the Tang dynasty when Xian blossomed as the first stop on the Silk Road China.

Over a period of more than 2000 years, Xian was the capital for eleven dynasties. Along with Rome and Constantinople, this Xian was a world leader in culture and trade and played a vital role in bridging the gap between east and west.

Many of the sites to visit are outside Xian and the surrounding countryside offers a treasure trove of historical and religious relics of China. The most famous site is the Terracotta Army, built to protect the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, whose Mausoleum lies close the warriors. Both these sights are to the east of Xian. There are other less famous but equally fascinating places worth visiting too. The Famen Temple claims to house the Buddha's fingers and still draws crowds of practicing monks (and tourists) to marvel at the fingers and the Tang dynasty treasures which are kept here. The countryside around Xian is also attractive and there are numerous mountains, including Mount Huashan which are a great break from the city.

The easiest way to see the sights around Xian is either to join an organized tour or to take the excellent Green Bus tours. These buses leave from the Bell Tower in Xian at regular intervals throughout the day. Riders purchase one ticket which allows them to hop on and off as many of the buses as they choose. Buses pass through the major sites approximately every ten minutes and this is a great way to see the sites at your own pace. The Eastern trip can be done in one day and includes: the Ban Po Remains, the Huaqing Springs , Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum and the Terracotta Army. The Western trip is further so allow a long day for thiXian China Pictures one! To the west the Green bus passes through: Xianyang City, the Imperial Tombs, Yang Gueifei's tomb and the Famen Temple.

Aside from being a major tourist destination and historical city, today Xian is an important industrial and manufacturing center. Despite the incredible history that Xian carries, it is a modern and prosperous area. The nightlife here is pretty up to date and Xian's University is considered to be one of the best in China. As a result, the city has a large student population who contribute to the cultural life of the city, making Xian one of the most pleasant cities in China and an ideal place to break the journey between Beijing and Shanghai.

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