Xi'an (西安; Xī'ān in Chinese pinyin) also known as Chang'an in ancient time, is the capital city of Shaanxi Province. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals in China, a cradle of Chinese civilization and a representative city of Chinese culture. In 2009, it was listed as the third international metropolis after Beijing and Shanghai.
Covering an area of 9,983 sq.km. (3,854 sq.mi.) and administering nine districts and four counties, Xi'an has a population of 8.46 million, 98.8% of which are Han people and the rest are from 50 minorities with a majority of Hui people. In 1981, it was listed as a world historical city by UNESCO. In history, Xi'an was the capital of thirteen dynasties including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang making it the most influential city that was made as the earliest capital for 1,200 years.
Shaanxi opera, the oldest, richest and most complicated systematic tunes of the four major Chinese operas, was included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List on 20 May, 2006. Chang'an painting, originated from shadow play prior to Han Dynasty is an integral part of Chinese national painting and Huxian peasant painting can be said as an example when it comes to this form of art.
As a world famous cultural and historical city, Xi'an boasts a number of tourist attractions. This includes symbolic ancient architecture like Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Daming Palace, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the City Wall. Crowned as the eighth wonder in the world, the Terracotta Army in Xi'an has attracted a swarm of tourists from home and abroad. Besides, Xingjiao Temple, Stele Forest and Mount Hua are also hot tourist destinations in Xi'an.
Apart from visiting the countless tourist spots, it's also suggested that you try some delicious local food and snacks like shredded cakes in mutton and beef soup, steamed cakes with candied date and Qinzhen cold noodles. Imperial Dumpling Banquet is what you cannot afford to miss and the authentic Muslim food on Muslim Street is equally worth going. You can also go shopping on Shuyuanmen Ancient Culture Street and pick some exquisite ornaments.