Shaanxi Overview

Cradle of Chinese civilization and ancient seat of imperial power, Shaanxi has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, countless Silk Road caravans, and, in the 20th century, Mao Zedong and his cohorts running a revolution from their headquarters in the caves of Ya'nan.

Today, with millions flocking to Shaanxi to see the Terracotta Warriors, the province is on the itinerary of increasing numbers of visitors. Unearthed in 1974 in one of the 20th century's greatest archeological discoveries, the army of 2,000-year-old, life-sized soldiers of Qin rate as one of China's top historical attractions, only rivaled by the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. When you combine the Warriors with the ancient city of Xi'an, home to historical sites including the Tang Dynasty city walls and Big Goose Pagoda, you'll realize why Shaanxi is an absolute must for the serious China traveler.

Reasons to visit Shaanxi (not to be mistaken for neighboring Shanxi province) don't stop with the Warriors or imperial Xi'an. The region is remarkably diverse, encompassing great attractions like the sacred Taoist peaks of Hua Shan, Xi'an's bustling Muslim quarter, the Neolithic matriarchal village of Banpo and the 5th century Buddhist statuary of the magnificent Yungang cave temples. All in all, Shaanxi is home to a staggering 35,000 historical sites, most of which are within easy striking distance of Xi'an.

If you only have a little time in Xi'an, the excellent Shaanxi History Museum is a great place to get a crash course in ancient Chinese history. If, on the other hand, you have a little time in your itinerary, consider venturing deeper into Shaanxi, one of China's most rewarding destinations.

Shaanxi history

Shaanxi climate

Shaanxi attractions

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