The city of Xian holds a very special place in Chinese history. Over two thousand years ago Qin Shi Huang unified China, becoming known as the First Emperor, and it is his final resting place that is protected by the Army of Terracotta Warriors. Xian is located at the eastern end of the Silk Road and this influence lives on in the bustling Muslim Quarter.

Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors are one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The first fragments were unearthed in 1974 by local farmers digging a well and the museum remains an active archaeological site today.

The figures represent the army of Qin Shi Huang and they were entombed with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife. Each of the warriors was individually made and their unique features can be seen in the intricate detail of their faces and uniforms. They are displayed in their three original pits, the largest of which is the size of two football fields and holds six thousand foot soldiers and horses.

Ancient City Wall

The defensive wall of Xian is one of the best preserved city fortifications in China. It was constructed in 1370 and is of grand scale with walls 12 metres high, 8 miles long and featuring 98 sentry buildings from where soldiers could fire arrows at the enemy.

A leisurely stroll along the top of the wall is an excellent way to appreciate the history of this fascinating city, or for a more active experience we can arrange a bicycle ride. The vast width of the wall allows plenty of space for both pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy views of the city from this elevated vantage point.

Hanyangling Mausoleum

This impressive museum is the tomb of the Han Dynasty emperor Liu Qi. The site has many similarities with the Terracotta Warriors but has a unique underground exhibition hall with glass walls and floors allowing an exceptionally close view of the excavated pits. The collection includes pottery statues that are about half human height, animal figures, weapons and everyday utensils.

Muslim Quarter

Xian is located at the eastern end of the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that stretched across Asia all the way to Istanbul. This influence lives on in the Muslim Quarter where the bustling lanes have the atmosphere of an oriental bazaar. Explore the narrow alleys to see the local stalls and Islamic food shops and maybe haggle for a bargain.

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