Long before the country answered to Běijīng, there was Xī’ān: a thriving city of emperors, courtesans, poets, monks, merchants and soldiers; a place where many of the world’s great religions coexisted and Chinese culture reached an apogee of creativity and sophistication.
Xī’ān today sits in the fertile Wei River valley, one of the epicentres of early Chinese civilisation. The area was home to the capitals of several major dynasties, stretching all the way back to the Zhou in the 11th century BC. The remnants of this ancient world are everywhere – from the First Emperor’s Terracotta Army to the Muslim influence that still characterises the city.
Topping the list of sights in and around the city are the Terracotta Warriors, the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, the Muslim Quarter and the City Walls. With a little more time, throw in the pagodas and museums.
Getting around: Taxi's are a convenient way to get around the city and are only 1.5 RMB per kilometer. The subway system is in it's infancy right now and only one line (out of six planned) is operating. According to Metro, the second will open on September 14, 2013.