Here are the must-see tourist attractions in Xi’an.
The Clay Army, located approximately an hour outside Xi’an, is a massive collection of life-size terracotta statues of the imperial guard.
This small army was created in 246 BC to guard Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of united China (who ascended the throne at the age of 13), in the afterlife. It was spread throughout three underground chambers.
The superbly detailed army went unnoticed until 1974, when well-digging workers found it. It took approximately 700,000 individuals and 40 years to handcraft from yellow earth, a clay-like material discovered on the site.
When you visit Xi’an, the first thing you’ll notice is the old Xi’an City Wall that surrounds the city. It is China’s best-preserved city wall and one of the world’s largest historic military defensive structures.
Visitors can walk or ride along the wall to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Photographs are best taken in the late afternoon! The moat, horse corridors, hidden tunnels, and 98 surrounding towers and watchtowers are all attractions of this place.
- The Big Wild Goose Pagoda
One of Xi’an’s most iconic sights is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This square pavilion pagoda, which was built in 652 as a location to study Buddhist literature, once had five levels and stood 60 meters tall. Empress Wu Zetian built two more floors in 704, and the brick exterior was restored during the Ming dynasty.
Inside, famous artist Yan Liben has carved Buddha figurines into the walls. On all four sides of each floor, visitors can ascend the stairs for a perspective of the city. Don’t miss the North Plaza’s music fountain, Asia’s largest, featuring stunning light, sound, and water performance.
The Muslim Quarter is the heart of Xi’an’s Muslim community. It is a crowded area – especially at night – because it is located in the city’s center and is home to more than 20,000 Muslims.
There are several mosques, including the Great Mosque, as well as reasonable food and souvenir stalls, making the district well worth visiting.