The centrally located city of Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi province (not to be confused with Shanxi province which only has one “a”) and one of the oldest cities in China. The 9 million people living in Xi’an enjoy living in a modern city full of history and national relics, the most famous of which being the Terracotta Warriors. Xi’an is also very close to one of China’s five sacred mountains, Mount Hua. Mount Hua is said to be one of China’s most dangerous mountains to climb so if you’re a daredevil, Mount Hua has your name on it. If you’re interested in teaching English in China, want the convenience of a large city, and are a history buff, Xi’an is perfect for you! Here are a few things to check out after you arrive:
Everyone comes to Xi’an to visit a giant mausoleum made by the first Emperor of the Qin dynasty (when he was 13). The quantity and uniqueness of the warriors has made it a sight to behold. Excavations are still being done on the site so you could probably visit it every year and look for the new warriors that weren’t there the year before.
The Muslim Quarter is located almost smack dab in the center of Xi’an and features a very famous and crowded snack street as well as close proximity to the Drum and Bell Towers and the Great Mosque of Xi’an. Get there early to avoid being trampled by the throngs of people.
This mosque is one of the oldest in China. It was built back in 742 during the Tang dynasty and then expanded during the following dynasties. Perhaps what is most unique about this mosque is that it is completely Chinese architecturally, although you will find some Arabic or a few Middle Eastern decorations in some areas.
Big Goose Pagoda
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, along with having a great name, has a great history. It was built 1,300 years ago back when Xi’an was the capital of the country. The best part of going to see the Big Pagoda is the nearby fountain/music show that happens on an almost hourly basis. But you’ll want to get there early! The best viewing locations get snapped up fast.
Old City Wall
Xi’an’s old city wall is quite impressive when you think that it was built 600 years ago by hand. Since the wall is so wide, you’re allowed to bike all the way around it (9km) and enjoy some great (albeit rather bumpy) views of Xi’an along the way.
Han Yan Ling Museum
If you think the Terracotta Warriors are impressive, imagine them in miniature form. That’s what you’ll find at the Han Yan Ling Museum. Some say this site is even more remarkable than the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll just have to visit both and judge for yourself.