The Bell Tower "Zhong Lou" is at the center of Xi'an. The major north-south and east-west roads cross here. The wooden tower is 36 meters high and stands on a solid stone base. The Bell Tower was built in 1582. The Bell Tower can be visited, it is the landmark of Xi'an.
The "Gu Lou" Drum Tower looks very much like the nearby Bell Tower. The Xi'an "Drum Tower" is the dominant building on a square that is very lively in the evening. The "Gu Lou" was built around 1370, the Drum Tower is 33 m high and brightly illuminated at night.
The Great Mosque "Qing Zhen Dasi" was built in the Tang Dynasty, when Xi'an was the starting point of the famous "Silk Road" and trade with Muslim merchants flourished. The mosque looks like a typical Chinese temple of the Ming period, but turned around 90 degrees, orientated to the east (Mecca).
Xi'an built a new city wall in the 14th century, which enclosed a rectangle of about 4.4 x 2.7 km. It is one of the few preserved city walls in China, you can circle the inner city completely. The southern and western section of the 14 km lang City Wall is the most beautiful. On the picture you can see the colourful South Gate "Nan Men".
The "Da Yan Ta" Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 and is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in China. Here the first Buddhist scriptures of "Xuanzang" were translated. "Xuanzang" had collected the writings on his long journey through India. His Journey to the west "xiyouji", became world famous.
The 43 m high "Xiao Yan Ta" Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 684 by Tang Emperor "Gaozong", who ruled between 649-683 in Changan (today Xi'an). Originally, the pagoda had 15 stories, but an earthquake destroyed 2 floors.
The pyramid-shaped omb of "Qin Shi Huangdi", the first emperor of China, is still closed. The famous "Terracotta Army" guarded this enormous mausoleum. You can climb up the mound and view the excavation site of the "Terracotta Army" from above.
Welcome to Xi'an
Today's Xi'an is still at the place where Changan used to be. Changan was the legendary capital of the first Chinese emperor "Qing Shi Huangdi". The first emeror ordered to built the "Terracotta Army" to protect his tomb. The square-shaped city of Changan served as a model for later Chinese and Japanese capitals. Nara, Kyoto and Beijing were built according to the same urban principles. The historc city centre of Xi'an is much smaller the the ancient Changan.
Most famous sights of Xi'an are the Terracotta Army, the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.