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  As the capital city of province, Called Chang'an in ancient times, Xi'an is one of the birthplaces of the ancient civilization in the Yellow River Basin area of the country. During Xi'an's 3,100 year development, 13 dynasties such as Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century B.C.-771 B.C.), Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-206 B.C.), Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.) and Tang Dynasty (618-907) placed their capitals here. So far, Xi'an enjoys equal fame with Athens, Cairo, and Rome as one of the four major ancient civilization capitals.

Xi'an locates at 33° N and 107°E, in the sourthern part of GuanZhong Plain in Shaanxi province. Look to North, Xi'an faces an alluvial plain; turn to South, it links to a denudation hilly area. The topography shows that it is a sloping shape from Southeast down to Northeast and Southwest. Xi'an covers a total area of 10,108 square kilometers´╝îof which 1,256 square kilometers is urban area (187 square kilometers already constructed). Xi'an has jurisdiction over such nine districts and four counties as Beilin district, Xincheng district, Lianhu district, Yanta district, Weiyang district, Baqiao district, Lintong district, Yanliang district, Chang'an district and Zhouzhi county, Hua county, Lantian county and Gaoling county.

By the end of 2002, the total registered population of Xi'an has reached 7.0259 million people, of which 4.0255 million are rural and 3.0004 million are urban residents. The population is composed of 46 ethnies, but the Han nationality accounts for 99% of the total population. The population of Hui minority constitutes the majority of the ethnic population in Xi'an. A large number of Hui people lives in the northeast area of the city where a lot of mosques locate there, for example, the Great Mosque which was built in Tang Dynasty. The number of Hui minority in the whole city is about 3,000, and accounts for 0.7% of the city's total population (about 50,000). Besides, Xi'an was a Buddhists' Holy Land in Tang Dynasty, and now the most important bouddhist place in China (in quantity): there are 109 halls of Buddhist nunnery temples. The famous Buddhist scriputures translated by monk Xuan Zang are now in the Great Wild Goose Pagoda. The Blue Dragon (Qinlong) Temple is a place for holding rituals in the past. The Land and Water Buddhist Nunnery is well known for its exquisite painted sculptures, etc.

The cultural and historical significance of the area, as well as the abundant relics and sites, help Xi'an enjoy the laudatory title of “Natural History Museum”. The Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is praised as “the eighth major miracle of the world”, Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is listed on the World Heritage List, and the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is the largest and most intact Ming Dynasty castle in the world. In the city, there is the 3,000 year old Banpo Village Remains from the Neolithic Age (approximately from 8,000 BC to 5,000 BC), and the Forest of Stone Steles that holds 3,000 stone steles of different periods from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. Around Xi'an, the Famen Temple enjoys the reputation of being the “forefather of pagodas and temples in Central Shaanxi”, because it holds the finger bones of Sakyamuni——the founder of Buddhism. The natural landscape around Xi'an is also marvelous Mountain Huashan, one of the five best-known mountains in China, is famous for its breath-taking cliffs and its unique characteristics.

Xi'an has always been one of the richest central regions of China with regard to food supplies. It is known as “the most prosperous place on earth”, the cradle of China's agricultural civilization, and the representative of China's civilization as well, displaying profound and colorful civilization and art: Hu County peasant pictures, shadows play, paper-cuts, clay sculptures, colored steamed buns, embroidery, tri-coloured glazed pottery, drawed porcelain plates, wheat skeleton pictures, etc. Besides, the cooking culture of Xi'an boasts a long history: it converges the most famous Chinese food, as well as American and European food, and various other types of delicious food, such as Japanese, S.Korean barbecue, flavors of Southeast Asia, Islamic flavor, etc. Eight famous dishes from Xi'an have winned the Gold Pot Award, especially the local snacks, are real attraction for guests from home and abroad.

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Banpo Museum Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Forest of Stone Steles Museum Huaqing Hot Springs
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses
Qianling Tomb Shaanxi History Museum
Xi'an City Wall Xi'an
 
 
 
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