This week Viking River Cruises is taking Pam to Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China and its capital for 13 dynasties. Its strategic location, at the eastern edge of the Silk Road, encouraged its status as a political and commercial hub for centuries. There is quite a plethora of historical sites to see in the city: the Great Mosque, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Famen Pagoda, the Stele Forest, countless temples and museums, and the ancient Huaqing Hot Springs. It is also home to a number of mausoleums and tombs from the Zhou, Han, and Qing dynasties, perhaps most famously that of Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army.
Terra Cotta warriors, photo by chinaoffseason
Despite its age, Xi’an has not diminished as a center of Chinese culture and history. Although cosmopolitan in atmosphere, the ex-capital bears the weight of 3,000 centuries with pride and enthusiasm. Another main attraction is the city wall, at 13.7 km long and 12 m high the world’s largest restored city wall. You can walk or bike it in a matter of hours, and the scenery, park and moat that run along it make for a pleasant promenade. Tourists interested in souvenirs should head to the bazaar area in the Muslim Quarter or Calligraphy Street to the south.
How to Get There: You can enter via plane, as Xi’an has its own international airport, or via trains that run from a number of cities including Beijing, Urumqi, Shanghai, Lhasa, and many others.
Great Mosque of Xi’an, photo by plusgood
Interested in touring the Xi’an or the rest of China? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 503.224.0180.