Xi’an is one of the most famous cities in all of China and with good reason. The former capital of China, Xi’an is bursting with history and is home to the iconic Terracotta Army and is easy to get to if you are also visiting either Beijing or Shanghai. From Beijing in particular you can take the overnight train which will give you a great picture of rural China and is one of the best ways to travel in this vast country.
The Terracotta Army is undoubtedly a highlight of not just a trip to Xi’an but to China as a whole, and it also helps that Xi’an is such a pleasant city in its own right. The Terracotta Army was buried along with the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. More than 9,000 statues were made and buried in the third century BC and now the complex has been turned into a kind of museum where you can view the mighty army. This means however that the complex is very crowded and rather touristy but the army is so impressive that this is definitely a must-visit if you are in Xi’an.
Xi’an was the capital of China for eleven dynasties and as such it has some of the most impressive historical artifacts in the whole of the country, not least the Terracotta Army which is the main reason why many people come. This has however made it rather a touristy destination and it is crowded and polluted, so if you are expecting a traditional Chinese town then you may be disappointed. That said, many of the attractions in Xi’an are stunning if you can face the trip out to them and the ultimate battles with the crowds when you get there.