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Xian was called Chang'an in ancient times. As one of China's seven ancient national capitals, it served as the capital for 12 dynasties spanning more than 1,000 years. Xi'an therefore, has a great number of precious relics and historical sites. More than 4,000 historical sites and tombs have been excavated and over 120,000 historical relics remain unearthed. The main tourist attractions include The Terra cotta Warriors and Horses, Great Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Huaqing Pool, BanPo Site, Stele Forest, Mosque, QianLing Mausoleum, Famen Temple and Maoling Mausoleum. Xi'an was the starting point of the Old Silk Road that extended from Asia to Europe and played an important role in cultural inter flow between the East and West in ancient times.
Today Xian is one of China's major tourist attractons. The big drawcard is the Army of Terracotta Warriors,but there are countless other sights scattered in and around the city.There is also an Islamic element to Xian,found in tucked-away mosques and busy marketplaces,that lends the city a touch of the exotic rarely found in Chinese cities farther east.
Xian is has a very important part in Chinese history. It served as the imperial capital for 12 ancient imperial dynasties from 1,000 BC to 1,000 AD. Xianâ€™s history began in the Stone Age, 3, 000 years ago when the Western Zhou Dynasty founded its capital at Haojing, todayâ€™s Xian. Western Zhou Dynasty was famous for its bronze, some of which is now displayed in Shaanxi Provincial Museum.
Barbarian invader caused the collapsed of the Western Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC. The Eastern Zhou Dynasty began and made its capital at Luoyang. In 221BC, emperor Qinshihuang unified the country and built a strong feudal society, with its capital at Xiangyang, north of Xian. The Qin was soon sacked and Han took the power. The Han rulers followed Qin and also based their rule in Xian. The Han ruled in Xian from 206 BC to 220 AD, when the city began to flourish. Xian was served as the starting point of the world famous Silk Road, a significant trade route linking ancient China and the central Asian and European countries. But it wasn'tâ€™t until the Tang Dynasty that Changâ€™an(todayâ€™s Xian)came into its own. Changâ€™an was one of the biggest international cities at that time, a great metropolis of the equal importance with Great Rome. The Tang Dynasty witnessed advances in many fields and the capital city boomed. It was built with grand, symmetrical layouts and became a model for city design at that time. After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, Xian went into a decline and its tenure as capital of China came to an end.
Although Xian still played an important role as a commercial center on the Silk Road in the later dynasties, it never regained its political or cultural importance.
If you're waiting to buy local souvenirs and antiques, Xi'an is a good place to pick them up, with cheaper goods than major cities like Beijing. Running down the side of the Great Mosque, Huajue Xiang is a narrow lane filled with stalls selling antiques, arts and crafts, souvenirs and bric-a-brac. As elsewhere, quality varies widely so be careful, and remember to bargain. Beiyuanmen also has a number of tourist stalls and shops, as does the renovated Shuyuanmen, a cobbled, pedestrianised street just east of the South Gate.
For a less contrived shopping experience, visit the market outside Baxian Temple (Xiâ€™anâ€™s only Taoist temple, just outside the East Gate) every Wednesday and Sunday. Villagers from the surrounding district bring in antique goods to be sold, ranging from unusual Cultural Revolution stuff to imperial-era ceramics and metal wares. Xiâ€™an is also a good place to pick up art. Original paintings in the classic Chinese style are widely available, but also keep a look out for the bold colors of Shaanxi art - idealized depictions of traditional peasant life that enjoyed nationwide popularity in China during the 1970s. Some good examples can be bought in a small shop behind the Small Goose Pagoda. The Friendship Store (just east of Bell Tower on Nanxin Jie) sells everything, but the price is often high.
Xi'an is famous for its jiaozi, a sort of dumpling. Jiaozi is a kind of newly created well-known feast of local flavor on the basis of the traditional dumpling recipe. It's a beautiful version of Ravioli with different ingredients like chicken, seafood, vegetables or various kind of meats. It is indeed a mixed combination of good-looking, good smelling and delicate good taste - sweet and rich in nutrition.
If you're hungry, go for it in the famous restaurant at Jiefang Road. Also you could try the food stalls located at Dong Shi Er Dao Xiang, the 12th Lane East.
Baked Bun Soaked in Mutton Soup
The most famous folk foodstuff of Xi'an is Baked Bun Soaked in Mutton Soup. Particularly a restaurateur will first offer the kind of hard dried pancake and you will break the pancake into small pieces, then give it back to the restaurateur for cooking the shredded pancake with mutton in delicious soup. The finished dish which is steaming hot will only motivate your appetite with an unusual sweet smell.
Qishan's Saozi Noodles with Minced Meat
As early as in the Qing Dynasty, Qishan's saozi noodles of ShaanxiProvince were famous for a spicy, sour and delicious taste, thin noodles and a good smell. Such noodles are prepared with high-quality flour, pork, eggs, day lilies and edible funguses, in addition to a wide variety of seasonings.
Lao Tong's Cured Mutton
A well-known snack in Xi'an City, cured mutton is prepared with selected meat stuff, the cooking artistic means and the subsidiary seasoning ingredients, so the cured mutton is ready and delicious. The mutton stewed in soy sauce looks bright and lustrous, tastes crisp and delicious.
The Chang'an Gourd Chicken
One of Xi'an's traditional local flavor, the Gourd Chicken's characteristics lie in its golden rich color, crisp skin, tender meat, good smell and soft through cooking. This dish is rich in protein and with saturated fatty acid necessary for your body.
Xi'an Huis (Muslim) Food Street
Situated at the north of Middle Section of West Street at Da Mai Market Street, Xi'an Huis (Muslim) Food Street is a place of the Huis (Muslim) exquisite food and drink with a long history, a number of food of various descriptions and strong national flavors in ancient Xi'an city.
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