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About Xi'an

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Local Features of Xi'an


Ancient Capital of China

Local Features of Xi'anXi'an is one of the oldest cities in the world with a vivid and rich history and culture. It is not only the birthplace of the Chinese Nation, but also the birthplace of human civilization in Asia and the cultural center of prehistoric civilization. As such, Xi'an has a wealth of historical sites and relics to visit and see and is a great place to introduce yourself to Chinese history.

It all began (as the story goes) over one million years ago in a little village called Yangshao, which is now held to be one of the first matrifocal societies in the world. In the Bronze age, the Zhou dynasty made their capital near what is now Xi'an and the area really came to fame under the Emperor Qin Shi Huang when the empire was united with its capital at Xianyang (about 60 km west of Xi'an). The magnificent Terracotta Army were built during this period to protect the Emperor's tomb from eastern invaders. 

The Han dynasty also based themselves here from 206-220 AD and made Xi'an not only three times bigger than Rome, but an important trade center as the start of the famous Silk Road. In terms of historical and religious relics, the most important age was under the Tang dynasty.

Tang dynasty treasures are visible today in many of the museums including the great Lintong Museum . The city's role as a breeding ground for revolutionary thought continued into the twentieth century when Chang Kaishek's own troops arrested him here in 1936. Archaeologists believe that there are many more exciting discoveries still to be made in this area which will continue to bring fame and funding to this ancient city.

Qingqiang

Qingqiang is the typical opera of Shaanxi province. This distinctive opera is actually more local yodeling than real opera! This type of singing originated in the fields and countryside surrounding Xi'an when locals who used to shout to one another across the fields gradually developed a system of song to enable them to communicate! 

The Qingqiang singing is great fun and the elderly residents of Xi'an take particular delight in it even today.

If you want to see the real thing, there are often performances on at the Chang'an Grand Theatre in Xi'an. Locals also practice their singing in the parks and down by the river! The old city walls are another popular stage for wanna be stars!

 

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