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The Other Side Of Xian – China’s Former Capital


China’s Xian is known as the home of the Terracotta Warriors, one of the world’s most renowned archaeological finds. Many tours just take in the warriors before moving on, but we think there’s a lot more to Xian than that.

Xian's Terracotta Warriors The Hanyangling tombs are a must. The reign of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi, whom the Terracotta Warriors were built for, marked the highpoint of dynastic power. His successor Emperor Liu Qi was less powerful and this is reflected in his Hanyangling tombs, which contain smaller figurines than the life size figures of the Terracotta Warriors. Mercifully though, the Hanyangling tombs are far less visited than the Terracotta Warriors, so a visit here is a good opportunity to delve a little deeper into Chinese history without hoards of visitors to contend with.

Xian was also the start of the Silk Road – from here Silk travelled across Asia to the merchants and markets of Europe. While the silk museum in the city is little more than an excuse to flog you silk, what is of interest is what came along the Silk Road in the opposite direction – Islam. Xian still has a thriving Muslim community, complete with Chinese style mosques, and a stroll around the bustling Muslim quarter is fascinating.

Elsewhere, Xian also has one of China’s best museums – the Shaanxi Museum – as well as well preserved city walls which are good to stroll along, or cycle round.

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