Xian China is a thriving city that typifies modern China but retains its ancient heritage.
Xian was the capital of China and an important commercial center in ancient times.
It was at the beginning of the famed Silk Road which was the trade route that established East West trade and cultural exchanges as early as the first century.
Those influences are still there to see - such as the Muslim mosque.
But today it is also one of the thriving Chinese cities where you can enjoy one of your best china holidays.
Xian magnificently combines its ancient past with China's modern dynamism.
So much to enjoy!
I like to visit Xian whenever I am in Sichuan - about two hours away by plane from Chengdu or Chongqing.
Have a look at my story to see how I do it.
I first visited Xian China in 2007 and like many people, I came to see the terra cotta army.
This Terracotta Army has guarded Emperor Qin's - the first Emporer of China - tomb for over 2000 years.
They were rediscovered just over 30 years ago.
Have a look at this magnificent sight to get a real feeling for Chinese history.
The Chinese have established wonderful museums in which you can see the terracotta soldiers, horses and other statues that have been painstakingly restored.
However during my first visit to Xian, I realised there was so much more to see.
No - it's not the Great Wall of China (which I highly recommend as well).
It is the other great wall to be seen. If you like to see a real China great wall, Xian has one.
In past times, many cities in China had a wall around the city to keep intruders out.
In some China cities such as Chongqing, there are only a few original pieces of the wall left.
But the wall around Xian is still there, maintained and functional.
There are four gates (North, South, East, West) which enter through into the city center. However, they do not lock the gates at night any more!
In fact, the city wall of Xian is the only one left standing and functional in China.
You can walk on the wall and get a great view of Xian. The picture above is taken from the wall looking towards the city center.
If you like to see a chinese pagoda, Xian has two very famous ones.
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Little Wild Goose Pagoda are two of the famous pagodas in China. They are well worth visiting.
They are very accessible even allowing you to climb to the top!
I think there is no better place to do some Chinese shopping than Xian.
Shopping in Xian provides a wide range of shopping experiences - from the large department stalls to the many small markets.
Don't miss the Muslim markets - they are great!
Xian was at the centre of Chinese Government for many years. You can understand how the ancient china government operated and you can feel the ancient chinese culture in Xian.
You can learn about ancient chinese religion and how it still affects Chinese life today.
So I came back in 2009 for a longer visit to see these things and do other things I missed out on last time - like riding a bike around the Xian Wall.
And its not all Chinese culture or Chinese religion!
The Xian people are so friendly - proud of their history but also very much a part of modern China.
Modern shops, hotels and airport together with a clean city make Xian a delightful place to be.
The population of Xian is about 8 million so it is not gigantic like Beijing or Shanghai - much easier to get around, especially if you like walking.
If you like Chinese food you will love Xian.
There are lots of old style and new style restaurants.
I especially recommend the dumplings. One restaurant I went to served nothing else except a wide variety of dumplings.
They were great.
And the shopping is fabulous - just like the larger cities of Beijing and Shanghai but not the crowds.
Xian is not in Sichuan - it is in Shaanxi Province. But it is pretty close - about an hour by plane from Chengdu or Chongqing.
And I love it so much that when I am in Sichuan, I take a short detour into the neighbouring province to visit one of my favourite cities in China.
Some people have asked me about the airport at Xian so I have included some information about it.
The Xian China airport is very modern and makes your travel to Xian very straightforward.
There will be a plane from many parts of China (and internationally as well) to Xian airport.
If you want to visit Xian, have a look at Xian Tours China for tours that show you this beautiful city.
If you need accomodation go to Xian Hotels for places to stay in Xian.
Terracotta Soldiers.....Marvel at this recent discovery of Emperor Qin's army which has been hidden for over 2000 years. Find out about the Terracotta Soldiers.
China Great Wall....Xian China has a great wall too. It is a terrific one - still fully intact and functional. What's more - it is great fun to explore! Find out about the Xian China great wall.
Chinese Pagodas....Xian has some great pagodas. Climb them - they are great fun to explore! Find out about Chinese pagodas.
Shopping in Xian....Shopping in Xian is as good as shopping in China gets. Xian shopping ranges from up market department stores to fantastic Xian markets. Find out about shopping in Xian.
Ancient China Government....Xian was the home to the ancient Government of China. See how it worked from Xian, the ancient capital of China. Find out about the ancient China government.
Xian Airport....Xian Airport is a typical modern Chinese airport. It compares favourably with Western airports. It makes Xian China so easy to go to and get from. Find out about the Xian airport.