One of China’s oldest cities, Xi’an – pronounced ‘see-an’ – is jam-packed with attractions such as historic sculptures, towering defense walls and bustling food markets. Here, visitors can wander along roads that have survived through the ages.
Xi’an’s extraordinary history is celebrated through a huge collection of ancient monuments – many of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There’s the Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of first Emperor of China. The collection was buried with the emperor in the 3rd century BC, and today offers great insights into the world of ancient China. There’s also the Xi’an City Wall, built in the 14th-century during the Ming dynasty near the end of the Silk Road. After all these years, the magnificent and unbeaten 12m-high walls are an imposing sight to see.
There are many exciting things to see and do in Xi’an, but the Xi’an Muslim Quarter should top your list. Dating back to the Tang dynasty, the district is filled with narrow lanes lined by traditional food stores, where you can sample authentic dishes including steamed soup dumplings, meat skewers and beef stew of bread. The area also boasts more than ten mosques, including the Great Mosque of Xi’an, and is close to the iconic monuments the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower.