Xi’an – An Ancient City Beckons

by Rosemarie John on September 19, 2014


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Its history began literally in the Stone Age 3000 years ago and served as the capital of China for several ancient dynasties. A great metropolis that was as important as Rome in its hey days. It was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road – the largest overland trade route linking China to Central Asia and Europe. It has 4000 historical sites and tombs, and the grandest of them all are the Terracotta Army. Welcome to Xi’an! The ancients knew it as Chang’an –the land of perpetual peace.

Motorised cycles swerved past me, pink buses and green taxis rushed by, the grey skies of a heavily industrialised city drooped over me, but this was not just a modern metropolis. Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi province seemed to look amused of my presence. Many a traveller passed through its venerable land and I too am another traveller who has come to gape at its treasures. I will go back with tales to tell my world. Which is precisely what am I am doing right now…

It was once a capital of China, but even after the capital was relocated, the city remained an important military stronghold for centuries. Merchants from various parts of the world carried precious cargo to and from this land on the trade routes that they built laying the foundation and formation of what we know as the Silk Road – A road that linked China, India, Persia, Greece and Rome and several other markets around this route. The road brought with it not just fortunes but also diverse ethnic identities and religious beliefs.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie @ GnomeAngel.com September 20, 2014 at 10:54 am

I’ve wanted to go to China since I was a school child and I wrote about China for a school assignment. The colours are captivating… it’s got me thinking about a possible quilt design. So amazing. Can’t wait to read more! (PS. When you gonna take me with you! 😉 )
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Rosemarie John September 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

I look forward to a Xi’an City Wall inspired quilt design! 🙂 (I can take you and leave Joseph behind! Hahahahaha)


Dennis Kopp September 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Wow Rosemarie and Joseph, I really can’t believe that I missed visiting Xian when I was in China. Even if I am not the biggest fan of Chinese cities, the wall and ramparts simply look amazing. Especially the gate towers are so beautifully decorated that it seems hard to imagine they were used for a military function. Thanks for sharing these great photos and insights and I will certainly make sure to keep Xian in mind for a possible next visit… 🙂
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Rosemarie John September 23, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Oh yes Dennis, the effort put in preservation by the government is just amazing. I am glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂


anna@shenANNAgans September 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I never knew Xi’an was once a capital city, thats fascinating. Amazing pics too..
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Rosemarie John September 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Thank you Anna! I will be writing more about Xi’an soon, so do check back to read about this amazing city!


Lesley Peterson September 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Extraordinary photos! The size of the walls, buildings and indeed China itself is mindboggling, as is its antiquity. Interesting approach that the city has taken to divide the Xi’an–allowing but restricting development so as not to alter the historic vistas. Great stuff.
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Rosemarie John September 29, 2014 at 4:38 am

Thank you Lesley! I never knew Xi’an was so historical until I read about it when i knew I was heading there! But once there I was blown away!


Elaine September 28, 2014 at 3:54 am

Of all the historically important cities in the world, Xi’an might be one of the most significant. Love how they have fused the modern age with the past though (the wi-fi at the city walls)!
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Rosemarie John September 29, 2014 at 4:36 am

I loved that bit too Elaine… I was like.. free Wi-Fi here? Then I sat on ancient stones and Instagrammed away! 🙂


Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans September 30, 2014 at 12:38 am

I love visiting places like this where the juxtaposition between the ancient and modern is so evident in the architecture. China hasn’t really been a high priority destination for me, but Xi’an definitely looks like a must whenever I finally do make it to China. Also, I appreciate you sharing your experience of what I call, “traveling in color.” It’s funny how all travelers – depending on where they’re traveling – can relate to both the awkwardness and amusement that go hand-in-hand with getting attention based on skin color.
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Rosemarie John September 30, 2014 at 12:43 am

I have so much more to write on Xi’an, I just haven’t got to it yet! And yes, “traveling in colour” was an experience. It was my first time experiencing such attention. It took me a while to learn how to look at it with amusement. 🙂


Heather October 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

I had my photo taken quite a bit in Xi’an too. Even standing in front of the terracotta warriors, young Chinese women wanted to pose with me. I found it very amusing!

Bicycling around the walls was by far my favorite thing we did in Xi’an. It’s amazing how well preserved they are!
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Lily Lau October 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Thanks for sharing this post, Rosemarie… 🙂 I’ve to visit Xian myself one day, that’s for sure!
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Rosemarie John October 28, 2014 at 1:16 am

Glad you enjoyed reading it Lily! Hope you visit Xi’an soon!


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