Xi’an is among four oldest cities in the world, besides Rome, Athens, and Cairo, and can definitely be considered as the ancient cradle of the Chinese civilization. It was the capital for thirteen dynasties throughout the history, and as such, created its place as the heart of numerous happening that were crucial for China, affecting its past and present as well. Its history is more than 3000 years long, and it played a crucial role for some of the most important dynasties, such as the Qin (221 BC – 207 BC), Han (206 BC – 220 AD), Sui (581 AD – 618 AD) and Tang (618AD – 908AD) Dynasty.
With the unification of China that occurred during the reign of the Emperor Qin in 221 BC, many important events for Xi’an happened and shaped its today’s importance. The emperor built a huge and powerful feudal society, making Xianyang as its capital, just north of Xi’an. Besides it, he built something that gave this city eternal fame and enormous significance – the whole army of Terracotta Warriors, which is considered as the biggest archeological site of the 20th century, attracting millions of tourists every year. Qin Dynasty was soon replaced with the powerful Han Dynasty, who based their rule in the city of Xi’an, at that period known as Chang’an. The year of 202 BC and the rule of the Han Emperor Liu Bang is traditionally taken as the founding date of Xi’an, since it was the year when the first Changle palace was built. This dynasty was much more open minded than the previous one, and they did not mind mixing. It is also responsible for creating something that we know today as Silk Road, being not just the international trade connection with Central Asia and Europe, but also religious and cultural.
The next dynasty that emphasized the position of Xi’an was Sui Dynasty, during which reign the city was named Daxing. The city wall was constructed on the base that was first set during the period of this dynasty, and today it is considered one of the most important features of Xi’an. However, not before the Tang Dynasty took over the power of the city and renamed it into Chang’an, the city fully flourished and developed into one of the most powerful cities in the world. The period of reign of this dynasty is considered to be one of the most prosperous periods, in political, social and economic sense. Big Wild Goose Pagoda as we know it today was constructed during this era and Buddhism expanded rapidly. Unfortunately, with the end of the Tang and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the importance of this city gradually decreased, and no matter that it got its official name Xi’an, it never gained its popularity again.
Xi’an Present Days
Though it did not keep much of its glory from the past, there are still numerous reasons why the importance of Xi’an is not to be neglected, at least in its cultural sense. Being full of different historical monuments, this city is one of the most important touristic centers in China, justifying the saying that if you go to Shanghai you will discover a 100 year old China, if you go to Beijing, you will discover a 1000 year old China; but if you go to Xian, you will discover a 3000 year old China. Besides tourism, equipment manufacturing also brings a lot to this city’s economy, as well as software and outsourcing industries. Xi’an also has the farming region, where the processing of wheat, tea and cotton is quite notable and worth mentioning. Regarding the education, besides the numerous public universities, it also offers private ones, and there are a lot of fields and successful departments, especially related to technology. Out of the most important are Northwest University, Xi’an Polytechnic University, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, and Xidian University.