Xian was China's capital city for some two thousand years and was a major centre on the famous silk route. Amongst its many tourist attractions by far the most popular is the Terracotta Warriors. However, the city has many other important places of interest including huge walls circling the city and an impressive array of pagodas and temples.
Situated some 1.5Km east of the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the Terracotta Warriors are one of the most important finds of the past century.
The 2000 year old warriors from the Qing dynasty were discovered by some local farmers in 1974 and the site consists of three pits covering 16000 square meters. No. 1 pit was the first to be discovered and opened to the public in 1979. It contains 6000 real size soldiers in a pit that measures 230 x 60 meters wide and 5 meters deep.
The warriors are arranged in a 38 column formation behind a vanguard of three ranks whilst war chariots bring up the rear. No. 2 pit contains a further 1000 warriors and No.3 has a smaller group of 70 soldiers who were possibly the formation commanders. The museum is open from 09.10 to 17.00 and admission costs between 65¥ and 90¥ depending on the time of the year.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Located to the south of Xian City, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is set in the Benevolence Temple and was originally named the Wulou Temple when constructed in 652.
Work was initiated during the reign of Emperor Yongwei of the Tang Dynasty and consisted of a 5 floor building onto which 2 floors were added during the reign of Empress Wuzetian. The building is square in cross section, 64 meters in height and utilises spiral stairs to access the top floor.
Officials who passed their imperial examinations inscribed their names on the Pagoda and these can be seen on tablets in front of the building. The Pagoda is open from 8.30 to 18.00 and admission is 25¥
Shaanxi Historical Museum
Found to the west of the Wild Goose Pagoda, the Shaanxi Historical Museum opened in 1991 and covers 70,000 square meters. Some 113,000 historic and cultural artefacts of interest can be viewed and exhibitions cover the period from prehistory through to 1840. These include the Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei Jin Nanbei, Sui and Tang Dynasties.
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