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Coordinates: 34°15′40″N 108°56′32″E / 34.26111°N 108.94222°E / 34.26111; 108.94222
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Sian, Hsi-an
Location of Xi'an City jurisdiction in Shaanxi
Location of Xi'an City jurisdiction in Shaanxi
Xi'an is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates (Shaanxi provincial government): 34°15′40″N 108°56′32″E / 34.26111°N 108.94222°E / 34.26111; 108.94222
Municipal seatWeiyang District
 • TypeSubprovincial city
 • BodyXi'an Municipal People's Congress
 • CCP SecretaryWang Hao
 • Congress ChairmanHu Runze
 • MayorLi Mingyuan
 • CPPCC ChairmanYue Huafeng
 • Subprovincial and prefecture-level city10,762 km2 (4,155 sq mi)
 • Urban
5,808.6 km2 (2,242.7 sq mi)
 • Metro
4,903.9 km2 (1,893.4 sq mi)
405 m (1,329 ft)
 (2020 census)[1]
 • Subprovincial and prefecture-level city12,952,907
 • Density1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density2,000/km2 (5,300/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density2,500/km2 (6,500/sq mi)
 • Subprovincial and prefecture-level cityCN¥ 1.201 trillion
US$ 154.2 billion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 98,205
US$ 15,108
Time zoneUTC+8 (CST)
Postal code
Area code29
ISO 3166 codeCN-SN-01
License plate prefixes陕A,陕U
City FlowerPomegranate flower
City TreePagoda tree
"Xi'an" in Chinese characters
Chinese name
Literal meaning"Western Peace"
Simplified Chinese长安
Traditional Chinese長安
Literal meaning"Perpetual Peace"
Xi'an dialect (Zhongyuan Mandarin) name
Xi'an dialect (Zhongyuan Mandarin)西安: [ɕi²¹.ŋã²¹]
長安: [ʈ͡ʂʰaŋ²⁴.ŋã²¹]

Xi'an[a] is the capital of Shaanxi Province. A sub-provincial city on the Guanzhong Plain,[7] the city is the third most populous city in Western China, after Chongqing and Chengdu, as well as the most populous city in Northwest China.[8] Its total population was 12,952,907 as of the 2020 census. The total urban population was 9.28 million.[9]

Known as Chang'an (Chʻang-an) in much of its history, Xi'an is one of the Chinese Four Great Ancient Capitals, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history,[10] including Western Zhou, Western Han, Sui, Northern Zhou and Tang.[10] Xi'an is now the second most popular tourist destination in China.[11] The city is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, both of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.[12]

Since the 1980s, as part of the economic growth of inland China especially for the central and northwest regions, Xi'an has matured into a cultural, industrial, political and educational, and R&D hub. Xi'an currently holds subprovincial status, administering 11 districts and 2 counties.[13] In 2020, Xi'an was ranked as a Beta- (global second tier) city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network,[14] and, according to the country's own ranking, ranked 17th.[15] Xi'an is also one of the world's top 100 financial centers, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.[16] Xi'an is ranked in the top 20 cities in the world by scientific research output as tracked by the Nature Index,[17] and home to multiple prestigious educational institutions in Northwest China, such as Xi'an Jiaotong University, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xidian University and Northwest University.[18][19]


"Xi'an" is the atonal pinyin romanization of its Chinese name 西安, Western Peace. (The apostrophe – known in Chinese as a 隔音符號, géyīn fúhào – should be included to distinguish its pronunciation from the single syllable xian.) The name was adopted in 1369 under the early Ming dynasty. Jesuit missionaries recorded its name as "Si-ngan" or "Si-ngan-fou"[20] from its status as the seat of a prefecture (, ). This form still appears in the Latin name of the Catholic diocese of Xi'an, archidioecesis Singanensis. The name was later romanized as "Hsi-an" by Wade & Giles and as "Sianfu"[21] or "Sian"[12] by the imperial post office, both of which were common until the promulgation of pinyin.

The area of present-day Xi'an has been the site of several important former Chinese cities. The capital of the Western Zhou were the twin cities of Feng and Hao, known collectively as Fenghao, located on opposite banks of the Feng River at its confluence with the southern bank of the Wei in the western suburbs of present-day Xi'an.[22] The Qin capital Xianyang was erected north of the Wei during the Warring States period and was succeeded by the Western Han capital of Chang'an (長安), meaning "Perpetual Peace", which was located south of the Wei and covered the central area of present-day Xi'an. During the Eastern Han, Chang'an was also known as the "Western Capital" (西), named for its namesake position relative to the main capital at Luoyang. Under the Sui, its name became Daxing (, "Greatly Prosperous") in AD 581. Under the Tang, the name reverted to Chang'an in 618.[12] Under the Mongolian Yuan dynasty (13th & 14th centuries), it held a succession of names: Fengyuan (), Anxi (安西, "Peaceful West") and Jingzhao (). The Ming name "Xi'an" was changed back to Xijing ("Western Capital", as above) between 1930 and 1943.



The Lantian Man was discovered in 1963 in Lantian County, 50 km (31 mi) southeast of Xi'an, and dates back to at least 500,000 years before the present time. A 6,500-year-old Neolithic village, Banpo, was discovered in 1953 on the eastern outskirts of the city proper, which contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements carbon dated to 5,600–6,700 years ago.[23][24][25][26] The site is now home to the Xi'an Banpo Museum, built in 1957 to preserve the archaeological collection.[27]

Ancient era[edit]

Remains of carriages and horses in Fenghao during the Western Zhou (11th–8th cent. BC)

Xi'an became a cultural and political center of China in the 11th century BC with the founding of the Zhou dynasty. The capital of Zhou was established in the twin settlements of Fengjing (灃京) and Haojing (鎬京), together known as Fenghao, located southwest of contemporary Xi'an. The settlement was also known as Zōngzhōu (宗周) to indicate its role as the capital of the vassal states.[28] In 738 BC, King Ping of Zhou moved the capital to Luoyang due to political unrest.[29][30]

Imperial era[edit]

A map of the city walls of settlements in Xi'an from the Zhou to Qing dynasties
Terracotta Army inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, third century BC
Map of Chang'an under the Tang (7th–10th cent.)

Following the Warring States period, China was unified under the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) for the first time, with the capital located at Xianyang, just northwest of modern Xi'an.[31] The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and his mausoleum just to the east of Xi'an almost immediately after his ascension to the throne.[32]

In 202 BC, the founding emperor Liu Bang of the Han dynasty established his capital in Chang'an County; his first palace, Changle Palace (長樂宮, "Perpetual Happiness") was built across the river from the ruin of the Qin capital. This is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an. Two years later, Liu Bang built Weiyang Palace (未央宮, "Never Ending Palace") north of modern Xi'an. Weiyang Palace was the largest palace ever built on Earth, covering 4.8 square kilometers (1,200 acres), which is 6.7 times the size of the current Forbidden City and 11 times the size of the Vatican City.[33] The original Xi'an city wall was started in 194 BC and took 4 years to finish. Upon completion, the wall measured 25.7 km (15.97 mi) in length and 12 to 16 m (39.37–52.49 ft) in thickness at the base, enclosing an area of 36 km2 (13.90 sq mi). In the year 190, amidst uprisings and rebellions just prior to the Three Kingdoms period, Dong Zhuo, a powerful warlord from nearby Xiliang, moved the court from Luoyang to Chang'an in a bid to avoid a coalition of other powerful warlords against him.

Following several hundred years of unrest, the Sui dynasty reunified China in 582. The emperor of Sui ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing. It consisted of three sections: the Imperial City, the palace section, and the civilian section, with a total area of 84 km2 (32 sq mi) within the city walls. At the time, it was the largest city in the world. The city was renamed Chang'an by the Tang dynasty.[34] In the mid-7th century, after returning from his pilgrimage to India, the Buddhist monk Xuanzang established a translation school for Sanskrit scriptures.

Construction of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda began in 652. This pagoda was 64 m (209.97 ft) in height, and was built to store the translations of Buddhist sutras obtained from India by Xuanzang. In 707, construction of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda began. This pagoda measured 45 m (147.64 ft) tall at the time of completion, and was built to store the translations of Buddhist sutras by Yijing. The massive 1556 Shaanxi earthquake eventually damaged the tower and reduced its height to 43.4 m (142.39 ft).[35]

The Nestorian Stele is a Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents 150 years of early Christianity in China.[36] It is a 279 cm tall limestone block with text in both Chinese and Syriac describing the existence of Christian communities in several cities in northern China. It reveals that the initial Nestorian Christian church had met recognition by the Tang Emperor Taizong, due to efforts of the Christian missionary Alopen in 635.[37]

Chang'an was devastated at the end of the Tang dynasty in 904. Residents were forced to move to the new capital city in Luoyang, and a small area in the city continued to be occupied thereafter.

In the era of the Song dynasty, Xi'an was an important cultural center of scholarship and innovation on matters such as science,[38] as well as historiography, religion,[39] and philosophy in China. The Northern Song era saw its people, political culture, and strategic location be directly utilized by the Song dynasty proper[38] and its continued relevance to Muslim travelers into China and Chinese Muslim residents.[40]

During the Ming dynasty, a new wall was constructed in 1370 which remains intact to this day. The wall measures 11.9 km (7.4 mi) in circumference, 12 m (39.37 ft) in height, and 15 to 18 m (49.21–59.06 ft) in thickness at the base; a moat was also built outside the walls. The new wall and moat would protect a much smaller city of 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi).

Modern era[edit]

East Gate of Xi'an
A panorama of modern Xi'an.

The Qing dynasty established a walled off Manchu banner quarter in northeast Xi'an, on the site of the former palace of the Ming Prince of Qin. A Han banner quarter was established in the southeast of the city.

Manchu bannermen from the Xi'an banner garrison were praised for maintaining Manchu culture by Kangxi in 1703.[41] Xi'an garrison Manchus were said to retain Manchu culture far better than all other Manchus at martial skills in the provincial garrisons and they were able to draw their bows properly and perform cavalry archery, unlike Beijing Manchus. The Qianlong emperor received a memorial staying Xi'an Manchu bannermen still had martial skills, although not up to those, in the past in a 1737 memorial from Cimbu.[42] By the 1780s, the military skills of Xi'an Manchu bannermen dropped enormously, and they had been regarded as the most militarily skilled provincial Manchu banner garrison.[43] Manchu women from the Xi'an garrison often left the walled Manchu garrison and went to hot springs outside the city, and gained bad reputations for their sexual lives. A Manchu from Beijing, Sumurji, was shocked and disgusted by this after being appointed Lieutenant general of the Manchu garrison of Xi'an and informed the Yongzheng emperor what they were doing.[44][45] Han civilians and Manchu bannermen in Xi'an had bad relations, with the bannermen trying to steal at the markets. Manchu Lieutenant general Cimbru reported this to Yongzheng emperor in 1729, after he was assigned there. Governor Yue Rui of Shandong was then ordered by the Yongzheng to report any bannerman misbehaving and warned him not to cover it up in 1730, after Manchu bannermen were put in a quarter in Qingzhou.[46] Manchu bannermen from the garrisons in Xi'an and Jingzhou fought in Xinjiang in the 1770s and Manchus from Xi'an garrison fought in other campaigns against the Dzungars and Uyghurs throughout the 1690s and 18th century. In the 1720s Jingzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing Manchu banner garrisons fought in Tibet.[47]

For the over 200 years they lived next to each other, Han civilians and Manchu bannermen of both genders in Xi'an did not intermarry with each other at all. The Qing dynasty altered its law on intermarriage between Han civilians and Manchu bannermen several times in the dynasty. At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, the Qing allowed Han civilians to marry Manchu women. Then the Qing banned civilians from marrying women from the Eight banners later. In 1865, the Qing allowed Han civilian men to marry Manchu bannerwomen in all garrisons, except the capital garrison of Beijing. There was no formal law on marriage between people in the different banners, like the Manchu and Han banners, but it was informally regulated by social status and custom. In northeastern China, such as Heilongjiang and Liaoning, it was more common for Manchu women to marry Han men, since they were not subjected to the same laws and institutional oversight as Manchus and Han in Beijing and elsewhere.[48]

In October 1911, during the Xinhai revolution, revolutionaries stormed the Manchu fort in Xi'an. Most of the city's 20,000 Manchus were killed.[49][50] Hui (Muslims; then referred to as "Mohammedans") were divided in its support for the revolution. Those of Shaanxi supported the revolutionaries, while those of Gansu supported the Qing. The Hui of Xi'an (Shaanxi province) joined the Han Chinese revolutionaries in slaughtering the Manchus.[51][52][53] Some wealthy Manchus survived by being ransomed. Wealthy Han Chinese enslaved Manchu girls[54] and poor Han Chinese troops seized young Manchu women as wives.[55] Hui Muslims also seized young pretty Manchu girls and raised them as Muslims.[56]

A British missionary who witnessed the massacre commented that "Old and young, men and women, children alike, were all butchered... Houses were plundered and then burnt; those who would fain have laid hidden till the storm was past, were forced to come out into the open. The revolutionaries, protected by a parapet of the wall, poured a heavy, unceasing, relentless fire into the doomed Tartar (Manchu) city, those who tried to escape thence into the Chinese city were cut down as they emerged from the gates."[49][57]

In 1936, the Xi'an (then "Sian") Incident took place in the city during the Chinese Civil War. The incident brought the Kuomintang (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party to a truce in order to concentrate on fighting against the Japanese Invasion.[58]

On March 11, 1938, an aerial battle broke out for the first time over Xi'an as Imperial Japanese Army Air Force aircraft attacked the city, and was engaged by Chinese Air Force I-15 fighter planes, led by Lt. Cen Zeliu of the 5th Pursuit Group, 17th Squadron.[59] While repeatedly attacked by air, Shaanxi was heavily fortified by units of the Eighth Route Army; Xi'an was never taken by the Japanese forces.[60]

On May 20, 1949, the Communist-controlled People's Liberation Army captured the city of Xi'an from the Kuomintang force.[61]

During the Mao era, Xi'an was further developed as part of the Third Front Construction.[62]: 186 

Xi'an made headlines for being one of the many cities where the 2012 China anti-Japanese demonstrations occurred.[63][64][65]

In 2022, Xi'an witnessed the largest COVID-19 community outbreak since the initial months of the pandemic hit China.[66] From December 23, 2021, the city was put into strict lockdown after local authorities reported more than 250 cases,[67] traced to the Delta variant by authorities.[68] This led to stressed healthcare and delayed or insufficient food deliveries to some part of the city.[69] Restrictions of Xi'an were lifted on January 24.[70]


Meibei Lake, Huyi District, Xi'an

Xi'an lies on the Guanzhong Plain in the south-central part of Shaanxi province, on a flood plain created by the eight surrounding rivers and streams.

The city borders the northern foot of the Qin Mountains (Qinling) to the south, and the banks of the Wei River to the north. Hua Shan, one of the five sacred Taoist mountains, is located 100 km (62 mi) away to the east of the city. Not far to the north is the Loess Plateau.

Map including Xi'an (labeled HSI-AN (SIAN) (walled)) (AMS, 1955)

At the beginning of Han dynasty, the Chief of Staff Zhang Liang advised the emperor Liu Bang to choose Guanzhong as the capital of the Han dynasty: "Guanzhong Plain is located behind Mount Xiao and Hangu Pass, and connects Long (Gansu) and Shu (Sichuan). The area can be called an irony castle spreads for thousands of miles, and is rich in harvest like the nation of heaven." (关中左崤函,右陇蜀,沃野千里,此所谓金城千里,天府之国也) Since then, Guanzhong is also known as the 'Nation of the Heaven'.[71]


Xi'an has a temperate climate that is influenced by the East Asian monsoon, classified under the Köppen climate classification as a borderline humid subtropical and humid continental climate (Cwa/Dwa). The Wei River valley is characterized by hot, humid summers, cold, dry winters, and dry springs and autumns. Most of the annual precipitation is delivered from July to late October. Snow occasionally falls in winter but rarely settles for long. Dust storms often occur during March and April as the city rapidly warms up. Summer months also experience frequent but short thunderstorms. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from around the freezing mark in January to 27.0 °C (80.6 °F) in July, with an annual mean of 14.08 °C (57.3 °F). Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −20.6 °C (−5 °F) on January 11, 1955, to 41.8 °C (107 °F) on June 21, 1998. A highest record of 42.9 °C (109 °F) was registered in another station on June 17, 2006.[72][73]

Climate data for Xi'an (Chang'an District), elevation 445 m (1,460 ft), (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1951–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 5.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −4.4
Record low °C (°F) −20.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 4.0 4.7 7.2 7.8 9.8 9.1 10.8 10.4 12.3 11.0 6.1 3.5 96.7
Average snowy days 4.7 3.7 1.3 0.1 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1.3 2.8 14
Average relative humidity (%) 67 67 65 66 66 63 70 76 80 80 77 69 71
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.2 121.4 160.2 185.1 200.1 201.2 209.3 176.1 135.2 119.8 120.6 121.7 1,870.9
Percent possible sunshine 38 39 43 47 46 47 48 43 37 35 39 40 42
Source: China Meteorological Administration[74][75][76] all-time extreme temperature[73]

National Time Service Center[edit]

The Shaanxi Astronomical Observatory was established in 1966. In 1975, according to the Geodetic Origin Report of the People's Republic of China, 'in order to avoid bias in the mensuration as much as possible, the Geodetic Origin would be in central mainland China.' Lintong (临潼), a town near Xi'an was chosen. Since 1986, Chinese Standard Time (CST) was set from NTSC. The National Time Service Center (NTSC), the Chinese Academy of Sciences is an institute which is mainly engaged in the service and research on time and frequency. NTSC takes charge of generating and maintaining the national standard time scale, disseminating the time and frequency signals. The autonomous standard time scales of universal time and atomic time and the dissemination techniques with LF radio and HF radio were established successively during the 1970s and 1980s, which meet all the requirements for different applications on the whole, such as the scientific researches, national economy, etc.[77]


As of 2010 Xi'an has a population of 5.4 million.[78] Compared to the census data from 2007, the population has increased by 1.4 million persons.[79] The population is 51.66 percent male and 48.34 percent female.[79] Among its districts, Yanta has the largest population, with around 1.08 million inhabitants.[79]

The Xi'an metropolitan area was estimated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to have, as of 2010, a population of 12.9 million,[80] of which 5,740,000 is urban.[81]

Breakdown of Xi'an population by district and county
Division Permanent residents[82] Hukou residents[83]
Total Percentage Population density (persons/km2)
Xi'an City 8,467,837 100 838.66 7,827,260
Xincheng District 589,739 6.96 19,574.51 503,641
Beilin District 614,710 7.26 26,298.54 732,494
Lianhu District 698,513 8.25 18,226.61 640,911
Baqiao District 595,124 7.03 1,833.97 508,535
Weiyang District 806,811 9.53 3,051.39 516,968
Yanta District 1,178,529 13.92 7,782.38 793,103
Yanliang District 278,604 3.29 1,139.26 252,449
Lintong District 655,874 7.75 716.04 697,586
Chang'an District 1,083,285 12.79 681.94 980,803
Gaoling District 333,477 3.94 1,169.98 294,507
Huyi District 556,377 6.57 434.87 597,071
Lantian County 514,026 6.07 256.25 643,605
Zhouzhi County 562,768 6.65 191.08 665,587

Administrative divisions[edit]

Xi'an has direct jurisdiction over 11 districts and 2 counties:

Division code[84] English Chinese Pinyin Area in km2[85] Seat Postal code Subdivisions[86]
Subdistricts Towns Residential communities Villages
610100 Xi'an 西安市 Xī'ān Shì 10,096.81 Weiyang District 710000 113 55 766 2984
610102 Xincheng District 新城区 Xīnchéng Qū 30.13 Xiyi Road Subdistrict
710000 9 105
610103 Beilin District 碑林区 Bēilín Qū 23.37 Zhangjiacun Subdistrict
710000 8 100
610104 Lianhu District 莲湖区 Liánhú Qū 38.32 Beiyuanmen Subdistrict
710000 9 127 5
610111 Baqiao District 灞桥区 Bàqiáo Qū 324.50 Fangzhicheng Subdistrict
710000 9 40 223
610112 Weiyang District 未央区 Wèiyāng Qū 264.41 Zhangjiabao Subdistrict
710000 12 114 147
610113 Yanta District 雁塔区 Yàntǎ Qū 151.45 Xiaozhai Road Subdistrict
710000 8 123 84
610114 Yanliang District 阎良区 Yánliáng Qū 244.55 Fenghuang Road Subdistrict
710089 5 2 23 80
610115 Lintong District 临潼区 Líntóng Qū 915.97 Lishan Subdistrict
710600 23 36 284
610116 Chang'an District 长安区 Cháng'ān Qū 1,588.53 Weiqu Subdistrict
710100 25 47 659
610117 Gaoling District 高陵区 Gāolíng Qū 285.03 Luyuan Subdistrict
710200 3 3 8 88
610118 Huyi District 鄠邑区 Hùyì Qū 1,279.42 Ganting Subdistrict
710300 1 13 21 518
610122 Lantian County 蓝田县 Lántián Xiàn 2,005.95 Languan Subdistrict
710500 1 18 8 520
610124 Zhouzhi County 周至县 Zhōuzhì Xiàn 2,945.20 Erqu Subdistrict
710400 1 19 14 376


Xi'an has many areas that are easily accessible on foot. In many commercial, residential, educational zones in the city, especially in the shopping and entertainment districts around the Bell Tower, underpasses and overpasses have been built for the safety and convenience of pedestrians.

A bicycle sharing network started operating in Xi'an from the year 2013 and today has 52,000 bikes, used by over 200,000 people per day.[87] Taxi services are numerous, but many citizens of Xi'an still commute to work using the city's 270 official municipal bus routes serviced by a fleet of over 7,800 buses, with an average system-wide ridership of over 4 million people per day.[87] The bus network is complemented by a rapidly expanding subway system that carries over 1.5 million commuters per day.[87] There are more than 2 million registered automobiles[88] in Xi'an; the growing number of personal automobiles also means traffic jams are a common urban issue.


Xi'an Metro Line 14
Fenghuangchi station

Line 2, running through the city from north (North Railway Station) to south (Weiqu Nan), was the first line opened to the public on September 16, 2011.[89] Operations began on September 28, 2011.[89] This line is 19.9 kilometers (12.4 miles) long with 17 stations.[90] Line 1 opened on September 15, 2013. As a west–east railway, its 19 stations connect Houweizhai and Fangzhicheng. Line 3 runs from northeast (Baoshuiqu) to southwest (Yuhuazhai) and opened on November 8, 2016. Line 4, which is basically parallel to Line 2 on its east except for the northern parts, runs from the North Square of the North Railway Station [Beikezhan (Beiguangchang)] to south (Hangtianxincheng) and was available publicly on December 26, 2018.[91] Line 5 opened on December 28, 2020. This line is 41.6 kilometers long, with 31 stations from Matengkong to Chuangxingang.[92]

Line 16 opened on June 27, 2023, and is 15.03 kilometers long, and runs from Qinchuangyuanzhongxin to Shijingli with 9 stations.[93] Four more lines are currently under construction, including an extension of Line 1.[94]

The subway system covers some of the most famous attractions, such as Banpo Museum (Banpo Station, Line 1), Bell and Drum Tower (Line 2), Fortifications of Xi'an (Line 2), the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (Line 3 and Line 4), the Daminggong National Heritage Park (Line 4) and Shaanxi History Museum (Line 2, 3 and 4), etc.[95]

The first metro departure time for Line 1, 2, 3 and 4 is 6:00, the last metro departure time for Line 3 and 4 is 23:00, for Line 1 is 23:30, and for Line 2 is 23:50.[96]

On December 30, 2008, a fire accident occurred that was extinguished within an hour and all workers evacuated safely. Sixty-six hours later, on January 2, another fire occurred at another station on Line 2.[97]


Xi'an North railway station

Xi'an's rail station, located just north of Xi'an's walled city, is one of the eight major national rail stations and the main rail hub of Shaanxi Province. The new Xi'an North railway station, situated a few miles to the north, is the station for the high-speed trains of the Zhengzhou–Xi'an High-Speed Railway. With 34 platforms, it is the largest railway station in Northwest China.[98] Construction of the station began on September 19, 2008.[99] The station was opened on January 11, 2011.[98] As of May 2012, Xi'an North Station is served only by the fast (G-series and D-series) trains running on the Zhengzhou–Xi'an high-speed railway; one of them continues south to Hankou.[100] The city's other stations include Xi'an West, Xi'an East, Xi'an South, Sanmincun, and Fangzhicheng railway stations.

Xi'an Railway Station covers 597,000 square meters (6,430,000 square feet), has 5 passenger platforms, and 24 tracks. It provides 112 services to 80 000 people daily. Among the destinations served by direct trains from Xi'an are Beijing, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Baoji, and Mount Hua. China Railway High-speed 2 now run an express services from Xi'an to Baoji and Xi'an to Zhengzhou; with a total running time to Baoji of under 90 minutes, and 2 hours to Zhengzhou. The Zhengzhou–Xi'an high-speed railway also serves Xi'an. Construction work began on September 25, 2005, the railway opened for service on February 6, 2010.[101][102] The railway has made air service between Zhengzhou and Xi'an uncompetitive. All passenger flights between the two cities were suspended within 48 days of start of regular high-speed rail service.[103]

Xi'an Xianyang International Airport


Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (airport code: XIY) is the major airport serving the city and it is the largest airport in the northwestern part of China. It is 25 miles northwest of Xi'an city center, and 8 miles northeast of the center of Xianyang.[104] China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines are the main airlines using the airport. Terminal 3 and the second runway were opened on May 3, 2012.[105] Construction of Terminal 5 began in 2022 and is expected to be completed by 2025.

Other than linking to most Chinese cities, the airport also has flights to several major Asian cities. One incident, however, is in 1994, when China Northwest Airlines flight 2303 broke up in mid-air and crashed near Xi'an en route to Guangzhou.[106][107] A maintenance error was responsible. All 160 people on board died. As of 2016, it remains the deadliest airplane crash ever to occur in mainland China.[108]

Culture and religion[edit]

A typical Chinese pavilion located in Xi'an
Traditional Chinese musical performances at Xi'an

Resident artists[edit]

Xi'an is home to contemporary Chinese stars such as Xu Wei,[109] Zhang Chu and Zheng Jun.

Xi'an cuisine[edit]

Yangrou paomo (flat bread soaked in lamb soup; simplified Chinese: 羊肉泡馍; traditional Chinese: 羊肉泡饃; pinyin: Yángròu pàomó)[110] is a well known Xi'anese dish.

Liang pi (cold rice noodles; simplified Chinese: 凉皮; traditional Chinese: 涼皮; pinyin: liángpí) are wheat or rice noodles served cold with vinegar and chili oil.

Biangbiang mian, also known as youpo chemian (simplified Chinese: 油泼扯面; traditional Chinese: 油潑扯麵; pinyin: Yóupō chěmiàn), are thick and long hand-pulled noodles, typically served with red hot pepper.

Roujiamo (meat buns; simplified Chinese: 肉夾馍; traditional Chinese: 肉夾饃; pinyin: Ròujiāmó) is a bun filled with pork.


Qinqiang (Voice of Qin) is the oldest and most extensive of the four major types of Chinese opera.[111][112][113] Another one would be the Empress of the Great Tang is China's first Tang dynasty dance and music show. The story is based on the life of the famous Chinese historical figure Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty. Through live performances by a classical Chinese orchestra and state-of-the-art stage design, this show will take you back to the glory of the legendary Empress Wu Zetian and the Great Tang Empire.

Chinese traditional religion and Taoism[edit]

A pavilion of the City God Temple of Xi'an

The most influential religions in Xi'an are the Chinese traditional religion and Taoist schools, represented by many major and minor temples. Among these there are a City God Temple, completely reconstructed in the 2010s, and a Temple of Confucius.


The first recorded Christian missionary in China was Alopen, a Syriac-speaker, who arrived in Xi'an (then known as Chang'an) in 635 along the Silk Road. The Nestorian Stele, now located in Xi'an's Beilin Museum, is a Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents the 150 years of early Christianity in China following Alopen.[36] It is a 279-centimeter-tall (110-inch) limestone block with text in both Chinese and Syriac describing the existence of Christian communities in several cities in northern China. The Daqin Pagoda, a Buddhist pagoda in Zhouzhi County of Xi'an, has been suggested to have originally been a Nestorian Christian church from the Tang dynasty.[114]

Baptist missionaries from England ran a hospital in Xi'an.[115] In 1892, Arthur Gostick Shorrock[116] and Moir Duncan[117] founded the Sianfu Mission, in present-day Xi'an.[118][119][120]


Xi'an has a minority Muslim community, most of these Muslims are from the Hui group, there are an estimated 50,000 Hui Muslims in Xi'an.[121] There are seven mosques in Xi'an, the best known being the Great Mosque.[122]


Fenghe Bridge

As part of the China Western Development policy, Xi’an became a major target for accelerated attention. From 1997 to 2006, the industrial output value of Xi’an's service industry increased at an annual average rate of 13 percent, compared to traditional service industries of 0.74 percent, representing a growth from US$8.113 billion to US$25.85 billion.[123] Xi'an is the largest economy of the Shaanxi province, with a GDP of 1.148 trillion Yuan in 2022. On average this value increases by 14.5 percent annually, and accounts for approximately 35 percent of Shaanxi's total GDP.[124] At least fifty-eight countries have established over 2,560 enterprises in Xi'an, including nineteen of the Fortune 500 enterprises. These include ABB, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Coca-Cola Company and Boeing.[125] Xi'an's capacity in information technology, advanced materials, aerospace, energy, and chemical engineering was highlighted in the western development policies in the Guiding Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Development of the West in the New Era and Forming a New Pattern.[62]: 186 

In 2020, Xi'an was ranked as a Beta- (global second tier) city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.[14] Xi'an is also one of the world's top 100 financial centers, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.[16]

Important industries include equipment manufacturing, tourism, and service outsourcing.[126] The manufacturing industry had an annual output of RMB 36.5 billion, accounting for 44.5 percent of the city's total.[127] Furthermore, as one of China's four ancient capitals,[128] Xi'an's many cultural sites, including the Terracotta Army, the City Wall of Xi'an, and the Famen Temple, make tourism an important industry as well. In 2019, tourists visiting Xi'an exceeded 300 million, earning a total income of RMB 314.6 billion.[129] On average, revenue increases by 36.4 percent per year, and foreign-exchange earnings (530 million in 2009) increase by around 35.8 percent.[127]

Xi'an is also one of the first service outsourcing cities in China, with over 800 corporations in the industry. The city's output value from this sector exceeded RMB 23 billion in 2008. Employment in the sector doubled from 1997 to 2006, from a base of 60,000, and computer consulting also doubled from 16,000 to 32,000.[123] As a result of the importance of the software-outsourcing industry, the city planned construction of a Software New Town, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015 with 30 billion RMB investment.[127] Other major export goods include lighting equipment and automobile parts, while its major import goods are mechanical and electrical products. Internationally, Xi'an's largest trade partner is the United States.[127]

The Xi'an International Trade and Logistics Park covers about thirty-five square miles and was conceived of as model for logistics-based urbanization.[130]: 120  The park is a major dry port and rail container center.[130]: 120  More China-Europe Freight Train (CEFT) rails depart from or return to Xi'an than any other city.[130]: 120–121 

Software and technological industries[edit]

Xi'an Hi-Tech Industries Development Zone

The major industrial zone in Xi'an is the Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone. The Jiangcungou landfill in Xi'an was China's largest landfill site before its closure in 2019.[131]

The growing economy of the city also supports the development of a software industry, and the city is a pioneer in software industry in China. The Xi'an Software Park within the Xi'an Hi-Tech Industries Development Zone (XDZ) has attracted over 1,085 corporations and 106,000 employees as of 2012.[132] Xi'an is described as having" large pool of cheap human resources from the 100 universities in the area, it hoovers up around 3,000 computer graduates every year, each earning approximately $120 a month—half the wages for the equivalent job in Beijing."[133][134]

Aerospace industry[edit]

In November 2006, Xi'an and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation jointly set up Xi'an Aerospace Science and Technology Industrial Base. From its establishment, the base has focused on the development of the civil space industry, including equipment manufacturing, software and service outsourcing, new materials and solar photovoltaics.

Apart from the core area, the base will cover Xi'an and the Guanzhong area and the expansion zone will reach other parts of Northwest China and Southwest China. It is expected that by 2012 the total industry output can reach 2.8 billion us dollars with about 10 to 20 brand products with intellectual property rights and 5 to 8 products with global competitiveness.

In 2008, after the launch of the initial aerospace center in Shanghai, the PRC is constructing another civil aerospace center in the Shaanxi province. The State Development and Reform Commission approved the planning of Xi'an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base on December 26, 2007. The National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base of Xi'an, set to cover 23 km2 (8.9 sq mi), will focus on developing satellites, new materials, energies, IT and other technologies for civil applications.[135]

Education and research[edit]

Xi'an Jiaotong University

Xi'an has many highly ranked educational institutions, with the seven universities listed in 147 National Key Universities under the Double First-Class Construction ranking fourth nationwide (tie) with Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu (only after Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing). There are a total of 60 universities in the city,[136] with the most famous one being the Xi'an Jiaotong University (西安交通大学), which was ranked 100-150 worldwide.[137] Other ones also include the Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学), Xidian University (西安电子科技大学), Chang'an University (长安大学), Northwest University (西北大学), Northwest University of Political Science and Law (西北政法大学) and; Shaanxi Normal University (陕西师范大学).

The city was ranked 138th globally by the QS Best Student Cities Rankings in 2023.[138]

Xi'an is a world leading city for scientific research and as of 2023, it ranked among the world's top 20 cities and China's top 10 cities by scientific research output by the Nature Index.[17] It ranked first in West China region, with a combined population of almost 300 million. The city also hosted the 2011 World Horticultural Exposition.[139]


Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Bell Tower
Drum Tower
Reconstructed Danfeng Gate in Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Shaanxi History Museum
Pit in underground museum of Han Yang Ling, Mausoleum of Han Emperor Jingdi
Mount Taibai National Forest Park
The Grand Hyatt Xi'an hotel in the CBD


Because of the city's many historical monuments and a plethora of ancient ruins and tombs in the vicinity,[12] tourism has been an important component of the local economy, and the Xi'an region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.[12]

The city has many important historical sites, and some are ongoing archaeological projects, such as the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army. There are several burial mounds, tombs of the Zhou dynasty kings located in the city.[10] Xi'an also contains some 800 royal mausoleums and tombs from the Han dynasty,[140] with some of them yielding hundreds of sculpted clay soldiers, and remains of sacrificial temples from the Han era.[140] The city has numerous Tang dynasty pagodas and is noted for its history museum and its stele forest, which is housed in an 11th-century Confucian temple containing large stone tablets from various dynasties.[140]

Some of the most well-known sites in Xi'an are:


Famous former professional sports teams in Xi'an include:


Television and radio[edit]

International relations[edit]

Xi'an's twin towns and sister cities are:


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Preceded by Capital of China (as Hao)
1046–771 BC
Succeeded by
Preceded by Capital of China (as Chang'an)
206 BC – 25
Succeeded by
Preceded by Capital of China (as Chang'an)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Capital of China (as Daxing)
Succeeded by
itself, as Chang'an
Preceded by
itself, as Daxing
Capital of China (as Chang'an)
Succeeded by