Xi’an, no matter how you perceive it, it is a landmark among all the cities in China that you could ignore.
In the eyes of outsiders, Xi’an is like this: the brick you pick up on the street randomly might come from a thousand years ago; even the air might be the breath of Yang Yuhuan; capital cities for 13 dynasties is his most famous business card. There is a traveler wrote in his traveling guide – “The culture of Xi’an is too heavy, even the way how servers serves in the restaurants has a sense of history.”
In the eyes of Xi’an people, Xi’an is like this: after eating soaked bund, or Liangpi, they are ready to walk into the subway wearing suites, and stepping into the tall office building. Go to work, get off work, eat with a few friends in the evening, barbeques on the street, and fall asleep in the darker night while feeling a little bit tipsy. Then, dream about going back to the old Xi’an.
Ancient and modern, history and future, two faces of the city, the co-existence of no awkwardness. It seems like a trip of time traveling.
This is the capital city of a thousand years – Xi’an.
As the former capital city, or the prosperous Han and Tang dynasty, the brick from the Qing dynasty, the tiles from the Han dynasty, still looks the same; or the generals, the talents and pretty girls have been passed on for generations; or the temples, streets and alleys, heavy and simple…too many kings, successful or fail, too many countries, too many literati, too many stories.
If you have to ask about the landmark in Xi’an, the Zhong Gu Tower has to be mentioned. Zhong Gu Tower is the combination of the Zhong Tower and Gu Tower in Xi’an, located in the center of the city. The well-preserved architectures from Ming dynasty faces each other and looks spectacular. It is the classic must-visit places for tourists.
The city wall of Xi’an is not built in Tang dynasty, but in Ming dynasty. It located in the center of the Xi’an, showing a shape of the closed square. The height of the wall is 12 meters. The top is 12- 14 meters wide, the bottom is 15 – 18 meters wide. The total perimeter is 13.74 km. People use to call the part inside the wall the old city, with a total space of 11.32 square km. The famous Xi’an Zhong Gu Tower is located inside the old city. There are four main gate of the wall: Chang Le Gate (East Gate), Yong Ning Gate (South Gate), An Ding Gate (West Gate), An Yuan Gate (North Gate). The four gates are the original gates of the old city wall. During the Republic of China, more gates are built for the convenience of entering. Now, the city wall of Xi’an has a total 18 gates. Standing on the city wall, you can see the whole area of the old city. You can hear the sound of the car and horses, feels like traveling back to the type of the Han, Tang dynasty.
The south gate of Xi’an is the most spectacular gates, which is the entrances when there are important foreign visitors. Here hosted many China town ceremony, and many heads of the foreign countries and celebrities have visited here.
The north gate is also called “An Yuan Gate”, which was built in Ming dynasty, meaning to pacify the minority groups in the distance. During the revolution of the 1911, the tower was burned down during the battel with the rebel army.
The east gate is also called Chang Le Gate, started in Ming and Qing dynasty. Because the capital city in Ming dynasty – Nanjing is located in the east side of Xi’an, “Chang Le” means the good wish of the country to be joyful for a long time. The street outside the gate is the Dongguanzheng Street, the street inside the gate is the Dongda Street.
In the sunset, the sunlight on the mottled bricks on the wall, you seem to hear the sound of the horn.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, is located in the Daci’en Temple, which is known as the symbol of Xi’an and Shaanxi Province. The pagoda was to hold sutras and giurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang. The pagoda is the earliest, biggest squared tower in existence, with total 7 floor and 64.5 meters in height.
The Hui People Street is the most famous food culture street, where most concentrated places for featured snacks in Xi’an. It is the first choice of the tourists in Shaanxi to try the food here. As the representative of Xi’an custom, Hui People Street is not a single street, but the name of North Guangji Street, Beiyuan Gate, Xiyang City, Dapi Yard, Huajue alley, Sajin Bridge and other ten streets. Every time you go there and take picture, it is always packed with tourists. Hui People Street is most favorite place to go for the documentary photographer, where they can find the most inspiration.
Academy Gate is the place has the most atmosphere of culture. Here not only has Zhongguangzhong Academy, but also the famous Stele Forest is only a step away. On the both sides of the street, many stores sells antique, calligraphic products, paintings. The famous calligrapher – You Ren used to live here.
Xicang is located in the north part of the road behind the temple, located inside the city wall of Lianhu district, Xi’an. It is the most famous flower and bird market, which kept its tradition of opening up on Thursday and Sunday. It is the location of the national warehouse in the history.
“It is a huge exchange place, mainly are animals, flowers, birds, insects, fish, also includes utensils, feeding supports and others. The place is filled up with man and women, old and young, and people have nothing else to do. They take basket with them. The place less than hundred meters long is so noisy and crowd. What a busy view.”
This is the novel “Abandoned City” from Jia Ping-ao, the vivid description about the Xicang. This is Xicang. You can see the all types of lives here, you can experience the folks’ life, and also feel the temperature from the ancient time.
Besides the elegant tower on the city all, and the culture of the folks, the temple is the other attractions in Xi’an. In the eyes of believers, it is holy. In the eyes of tourists and photographers, it shows another type of beauty: smokes creating a different atmosphere, which is touching.
Guangren temple is located in the Northeast corner inside Xi’an city. It was a Xanadu for the Grand Lama of the Northwest and Tibet, thus, it is called Lama Temple. It is the only Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Shaanxi province.
Each year between October 24 to 25 of the lunar year, the Lights Festival will be hosted. People will come, the drum and bell will ring. It is very busy. Here is a good choice for your to experience the Tibetan Buddhist without going far away.
Old Guanyin Temple built in the period of Zhengguan of Tang Dynasty, which has 1,400 years of history. It is one of the temples that has a thousand years of history in Zhongnan Mountain. The temple is located in the Luohandong Village, Dongda Street, Chang’an District, Xi’an. The Ginkgo Tree inside the temple has 1,400 years of history. It is told that the ginkgo tree was planted by Li Shiming – Emperor of the Tang Dynasty. Each year in November, the ginkgo tree will become gold, the view is quite spectacular. Many tourists are attracted here, also the photographers.
Eight Fairies Temple it is the biggest, most famous temple for Taoism. Folks say that the Eight Fairies Temple was when Lv Dongbing met Han Zhongli, Lv is enlightened here. The Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxi have lived in Eight Fairies Temple on their escape.
Qinglong Temple, as a famous Buddhist temple, the most famous is not the morning bell or the drum in the sunset. It is the various and colorful cherry bloomsome. End of March each year, the bloomed flowers make the yard super pretty and colorful. Now, the legend of the Qinglong Temple and the pretty view have attracted tourists from all over the world. Here is the land of cherry bloomsome: 13 varieties, 600 trees. I
Catholic Church in Wuxing Street, people uses to call it “Nan Tang”. According to the record, the church was built in Qing dynasty (1715) by the Italian Franciscans, the Italian Missionary – appointed by the second bishop Lanxi of Shaanxi Catholic Church. After the completion, it became the main church. After several times of expansion, it becomes what we see today in 1991. The internal use of the arch structure, the grey brick and tiles, the combination of east and west, the presentation of the Roman style, the details of the decoration are the combination of east and west.
As the big city that with 8 million population, it is different in the eyes of people. Even though it doesn’t like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with many tall buildings, the elements of fashion and modern are never missing. Even though it is no match to the foggy and raining weather in Jiangnan, the view of the lake and mountain gives something different.
To memorize the Europe and Asian Economic Forum held in Xi’an 2015, the bridge is named as “Europe Asia Bridge”. Because in the light, the bridge shows in 7 colors like the rainbow, locals call it the rainbow bridge. In the evening, it is the place where young people gathers together. Sometimes, you can find some bikers here racing.
Subway is an important element in measuring the development of the city. In a city with 8 million population, Xi’an has now 3 subways running, which are the subway 1, 2, 3 that travels between south and north, east and west, and Northeast and Southwest. The line 3 from Guangyuntan Station runs above the ground, where you can see the amazing views
The Xi’an now, as the starting point of the Silk Road, is developing into the key city of the nation. The future Xi’an, might rebuild the legend.