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A Special Historical Scenery in Xi'an(2010-10-21)

2010-10-21

A Special Historical Scenery in Xi'an

Xi'an served as the ancient capital of China and the stronghold for the first Chinese emperor's reign. The famous Silk Road emerged from the city and connected to the other great civilizations of the age, offering a taste of China to the world and making Xi'an an international city long before anyone coined the term "cosmopolitan." Today, the city continues to thrive, earning Xi'an a reputation for staying- power that few places in the world can match.

All of Xi'an's historical gems make the city a must-see for any visitor to China. And the best part? Visitors are always just steps away from well-kept reminders of Xi'an's vivid past.

One of your first stops should be the ancient city wall, one of the oldest intact city walls in the world. While the city has spread far beyond the old walls, and the original lime and sticky rice building materials have been paved over with brick, the surrounding buildings still reflect Tang Dynasty style. With a perimeter of 11.9 kilometers, Xi'an's wall is great for an afternoon stroll and striking views of the city.

In the center of the city stands the Bell Tower, still presiding over the bustling modern streets, which are lined with enough shining new buildings and busy shopping malls to dazzle even the most hardened Westerner. Streets running north, south, east, and west in the traditional Chinese fashion originate at the Bell Tower and run outwards to the city wall.

Immediately west of the Bell Tower is Muslim Street (Huimin Jie), your first taste of the Silk Road in the city. Seasoned bargainers will be thrilled with the selection of souvenirs and snacks. For the more sedate, there are a few larger stores offering Xi'an delicacies for a set price. The Great Mosque of Xi'an is one of the largest and best-preserved mosques of early China, built during Emperor Xuanzong's reign (685-762 AD), and it's still active today. Tourists can buy a 25-yuan ticket to see the mosque, which exhibits traditional Chinese architecture offset by stunning blue-painted roofs.

If Buddhism is more your thing, the Wild Goose Pagoda in southern Xi'an is the place to go. Slightly older than the Great Mosque (built during Emperor Gaozong's 649-683 reign), the tower was built to house Buddhist relics brought from India.

Over the years, Xi'an has also been a stage for some of China's greatest personalities and dramas.

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