In centuries past, present-day Xian was capital to 11 dynasties over a period of 4,000 years, and known by a variety of names: among them Chang'an and Xianyang, all of which soon became synonymous with wealth and power. By any name, however, Xian in its heyday was a magnificent, cosmopolitan city that boasted a thriving arts scene, bustling trade, and myriad pleasures; as the Tang capital of Chang'an, Xian was the most populated city in the world, and served as the inspiration for, among others, the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Nara. Today, while Xian's glory days are over, it remains a key tourist destination, with a range of well-preserved, fascinating sights, from the world-renowned terracotta soldiers to imposing city walls of Xian.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in 652 AD during the Tang Dynasty, this Buddhist pagoda is so named because of a legend that a wild goose fell from the sky just when starving monks at the site of the pagoda prayed for meat from Bodhisattva.

Han Mausoleum

Explore the vast Han Mausoleum, the joint resting place of Han Dynasty emperor Liu Qi and his Empress, Wang Zhi. Aside from the imposing royal tombs, which rival the Terracotta Army in size and scope, the site’s 81 satellite tombs have proven to be an archaeological treasure trove, containing more than 60,000 burial objects - from pottery and utensils to weapons and chariots - of the Western Han Dynasty. Learn what the careful placement of the awe-inspiring tombs and relics reveals about the hierarchical social structures of the dynasty.

Royal Tang Dynasty Reception

Enjoy a royal Tang Dynasty reception at the city wall, where, in accordance with ancient procedure, a “royal visa” will be issued to you. Performers dressed in period costume will announce your arrival similar to the manner in which explorers were presented to the emperor.

Shaanxi Museum of History

Visit the Shaanxi Museum of History; Shaanxi Province is a cradle of civilization and the museum is home to a number of ancient, prized relics, including fossils of the Lantian Man, who precedes the Peking Man and is believed to have lived 1.7 million years ago in modern-day China.

Silk Road & Great Mosque

Discover the end of the Silk Road. Explore one of Xian’s Muslim neighborhoods by visiting the Great Mosque of Xian, originally built in 742 under the auspices of the Tang Dynasty. Stroll and admire the tranquil environs of the mosque’s four courtyards, and view such rare pieces as a Ming dynasty handwritten copy of the Koran.

Terracotta Army

This UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of over 8,000 terracotta soldiers, 100 chariots and 600 horses, no two identical. The army was created to guard the tomb of Qin Shi-huang, the legendary and controversial “First Emperor” who united China into one country from an array of warring states, and also began construction of the Great Wall.

On certain occasions, Remote Lands can arrange special access to the floor of the excavation site of the Terracotta Army, where you can look at terra cotta soldiers up close.

Xian Archaeological Institute

Pending special permission, visit the private storeroom at the Xian Archaeological Institute. A representative of the Institute will guide you through the typically off-limits displays of invaluable relics, some of them nearly 3,000 years old.

Xian City Wall

Walk on the Xian City Wall, one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. It was built by the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who paid heed to a hermit’s advice of building high walls in order to fortify the city and unify the other states. While impressive, the walls are but a pale shadow of the ones constructed in earlier eras, particularly when Xian was the Tang Dynasty capital of Chang'an.

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