Must-See Historical Sites of Xi'an
Collected by Emily Chu , AFAR Local Expert
When the Terra Cotta Army was uncovered in Xi'an in 1974, the world took notice of the Shaanxi city. The army—filled with 8000 life-size soldiers, as well as weapons, horses, chariots, and other characters—was buried in the tomb of China's first emperor. Visitors can discover more treasures than frozen troops in Xi'an, though: Along with its famous cuisine, the city is rich with peaceful temples and and holy mosques, hutongs that rival those in Beijing, historic palaces from the Tang Dynasty, and intact walls and fortifications that date back to the seventh century.
Lintong, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
The story of the Emperor Qin reads something like Game of Thrones, with hostages, feuding brothers, wars, and the ultimate unification and creation of what we know as China today. Wanting to protect himself in the afterlife, Emperor Qin created an...
Furong S Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
Tang Paradise is a modern reconstruction of various ancient sites in Shaanxi province. There are a lot of beautiful buildings constructed in the style used during the Tang Dynasty. The park itself is 165 acres, with a lake in the center surrounded...
1 Ci'en Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a very cool historical site to visit in Xi'an. It was built in the seventh century to house Buddhist scriptures, statues, and other relics that were brought back to China by the Buddhist scholar and traveler Xuanzang....
Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
There are a number of old neighborhoods in Xi'an that are lovely to explore on foot, especially between the Bell Tower and the Great Mosque, and west of the South Gate. Wandering around, you'll see old houses and stumble upon amazing stonework and...
585 Ziqiang E Rd, Xincheng Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
The main royal residence for emperors during the Tang Dynasty (from the 600s to the 900s), Daming Palace was discovered in 1957. After excavations and restoration work, the palace, also known as the Palace of Great Brilliance, opened to the...
155 Banpo Rd, Baqiao Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710038
The Xi'an Banpo Museum preserves artifacts excavated from the neolithic site of Banpo, settled 5,600 to 6,700 years ago. The museum provides access to the excavated buildings and has several houses reconstructed in the style of the prehistoric...
Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Want to know more about Taoism? About 70km west of Xi'an, in Tayu Village, is the Louguantai Temple, where it's said that Lao Tze, the founder of Taoism, wrote the Tao Te Ching and set the fundamentals for the religion. Built over two thousand...
91 Xiaozhai E Rd, QuJiang ShangQuan, Yanta Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710061
Built in the grand architectural style of the Tang Dynasty, the huge Shaanxi History Museum offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the ancient capital. The museum houses over 370,000 precious relics unearthed in Shaanxi Province....
Hongying Rd, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
An interestingly curated museum, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum (also called the Steles Forest or Beilin Museum) focuses on displays of steles (commemorative slabs), epigraphs, and stone sculptures from throughout history. The museum's...
Huajue Alley, Bei Yuan Men Xiao Chi Yi Tiao Jie, Lianhu Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China, 710001
Located in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, China is the Great Mosque, the country’s oldest and most renowned mosque. The mosque dates back to 742 AD. From all outward appearances, it looks like a Chinese temple and not a mosque; pagodas have replaced...
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