Shaanxi, “Qin” for short, is located in the inland of China, and is an important hub connecting the eastern and central regions and the northwest and southwest of China.
The territory of Shaanxi is narrow. The terrain is high in the north and south, low in the middle. From north to south, there are three landforms including Shanbei Plateau, Guanzhong Plain, and Qin-Ba Mountain. The main mountains include the Qinling Mountains, the Daba Mountains and so on.
Shaanxi stretches across three climatic zones, and the climate in the north and south is quite different. The temperature decreases from south to north and from east to west. The rainfall is more in the south than in the north. Shannan is a humid region. Guanzhong a semi-humid region, and Shanbei a semiarid region.
The province belonged to the Yongzhou and Liangzhou in ancient times, also known as the “Land of Three Qin.” With a long history, it is ancient and mysterious, known as “the natural history museum.” The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Famen Temple, Xi’an City Wall and other cultural relics can all be found here. There are 72 ancient imperial tombs here.
Shaanxi folk culture is splendid and rich and includes the Shaanxi shadow play, Qinqiang, Shanbei Yangge, Shaanxi puppetry, Ansai waist drum, as well as Shaanxi farmer painting, Ansai paper-cutting, Dali crispy noodles, Ganjing Town crispy noodles and other folk arts.
Shaanxi Province comprises 10 prefecture-level cities, including Xi’an, Yan’an, Tongchuan, Weinan, Xianyang, Baoji, Hanzhong, Yulin, Ankang, and Shangluo.
Xi’an, known as Chang’an in ancient times, was historically the capital of 13 dynasties. It is the capital with the longest history and the greatest influence over the most dynasties, ranking first among ancient capitals in China, hailed as “the natural history museum.
Xi'an Ancient City Wall
Xi’an Ancient City Wall is China’s best preserved ”defense” strategy, and includes moat, drawbridge, gate building, watchtower and other tightly organized military facilities.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, located in the West Branch of Great Maternal Grace Temple, was built to store the scriptures and Buddha statues brought back by monk Xuanzang from India in the Tang Dynasty. It is a seven-storey pavilion-style black-brick tower, composed of two parts: the tower foundation and the tower body.
Tang Paradise, built in a royal palace, is a large imperial garden-style theme park that comprehensively displays the style and features of the glorious age of the Tang Dynasty.
Xi’an Bell Tower is the largest and best-preserved bell tower left from ancient China. Inside it, there are resplendent and magnificent carved beams and painted rafters.
Huaqing Pool is a palace built on the ruins of the Tang Dynasty Huaqing Palace, and known for its hot springs. Buildings in the scenic area adopt the design of buildings from the Tang Dynasty, grand and magnificent. The garden landscape is unique and the Tang Dynasty dance performance there is spectacular.
Shaanxi History Museum
Shaanxi History Museum houses more than 370,000 pieces of cultural relics, including exquisite Shang and Zhou bronzes, various ancient potteries, as well as Han and Tang gold and silver wares, Tang tomb murals, etc. It can be called the treasure of Chinese civilization.
Xi’an Beilin Museum is composed of three parts: Confucian Temple, Stone Tablets, and Stone Sculpture Room. At present, there are seven display rooms for stone tablets, eight display corridors for epitaphs, eight stele pavilions, as well as one stone art room and four artifact display rooms. The total display area reaches 4,900 square meters.
Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum is a large site museum based on Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Warriors Museum and supported by Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Park. At present, more than 600 accompanying pits and tombs of various types have been found on the mausoleum site.
Terracotta Warriors and Horses
The Terracotta Warriors, hailed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” were discovered in an accompanying pit of the mausoleum of the first Chinese emperor Qinshihuang, where terracotta figurines, chariots, terracotta horses, a variety of bronze pottery, and other relics were unearthed.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Mount Li Park)
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is the tomb of Qinshihuang Ying Zheng. The mausoleum is designed in imitation of Xianyang, the capital of Qin. with inner and outer cities. The tall mound facing the cast is located in the southwest of the inside city. The location of the tomb’s coffins and funerary objects, it is the core of the mausoleum complex.
Yan’an is the holy land of the Chinese revolution and a historical and cultural city of the country. Here, one can find Yaodong where revolution pioneers of new China lived. Many recent important historical decisions are also connected to this site.
The Baota Mountain is a landmark of Yan’an, containing up to 260 meters of rare stone inscriptions on precipices and steles. The pagoda, built in the Tang Dynasty, has nine-stories, standing at about 44 meters high. On the top of the pagoda, one can have a panoramic view of the city.
Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Hall
The Yan’an Revolutionary Memorial Hall has a large number of precious revolutionary relics, documents and photos. In the more than 400 meter long exhibition hall, over 1,000 historical photos and more than 800 revolutionary relics vividly demonstrate the life of new Chinese revolutionaries in Yan’an.
Jujube Orchard was the location of the CPC Central Committee from October 1943 to March 1947. The orchard, with lush trees and green grass, houses the former residences of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De.
Fufeng - Famen Temple
Famen Temple was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty, known as “the ancestor of pagoda temples in the Guanzhong area.” The temple houses a finger bone relic of the Sakyamuni Buddha, making it one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the whole county.
Hancheng - Dangjia Village
Dangjia Village has a history of about 670 years. There are typical northern courtyard dwellings constructed according to the principles of Yin-Yang and Wu Xing (Chinese Five Elements). With wood, stone and brick carvings, these ancient dwellings are a valuable heritage.
Hanzhong - Ancient Han Platform
Legend has it that the Ancient Han Platform was the place where Emperor Gaozu Liu Bang of Han Dynasty built his mansion when he declared himself Han Emperor, and it is now the location of Hanzhong Municipal Museum. The existing buildings on the platform are in the style of Ming and Qing gardens with old lush trees and tall bamboos.
Ancient Capital Sites
Xi'an - Epang Palace Site
Epang Palace Site is China’s most famous palace complex in history, hailed as “the first palace in the world.” Built in 212 BC in the Qin Dynasty, it is magnificent and majestic.
Xi'an - Han Chang'an City Site
Han Chang’an City Site is the capital city site of the Western Han Dynasty. Its southern region looks like a Southern Star, while the northern region looks like the Big Dipper. The walls are all rammed earthen walls. There are a total of 12 gates and a moat outside the walls.
Xi'an - Tang Chang'an City Site
Tang Chang’an City, built in the Sui Dynasty, was the capital of the Sui and Tang dynasties constructed in an axial symmetry form, including three parts of the outer city, the palace city and the imperial city as well as East and West markets, covering an area of 83.1 square kilometers.
Huanging - Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor
Located in the Beiqiao Mountain Hill, the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor, the ancestor of the Chinese nation. National sacrifices used to be held here in past dynasties. On the mountain, there are tens of thousands of lush evergreen millennium cypresses.
Qianxian County - Qianling Mausoleum
Liquan - Zhao Mausoleum
Zhao Mausoleum is the tomb of Emperor Taizong Li Shimin of Tang Dynasty and Empress Zhangsun. It is the largest of the “18 mausoleums of the Tang Dynasty” in Guanzhong, Shaanxi. It was built at the Jiuzong Mountain with more than 180 subordinate tombs.
Baoji - Mount Taibai
The bright white cap of the imposing and magnificent Mount Taibai is covered with snow all year round, hence the name Taibai (extremely white). Forest landscapes dominate the beautiftil natural sceneiy of the mountain.
Chang'an - Zhongnan Mountains
The main peak of the Zhongnan Mountains is 2,604 meters above sea level. As the birthplace of Taoism in China, it is divided into four scenic areas, Nanwutai, Mount Cuihua, Shibianyu and Luohanping. Among them, Mount Cuihua is known as “the Most Spectacular in the Zhongshan Mountains, and “China’s Geology and Geomorphology Museum”.
Yichuan - Hukou Waterfall
The Hukou Waterfall is China’s second largest waterfall. Where the Yellow River flows into the Hukou area, green mountains on both sides guide the Yellow River water into a narrow canyon. The roaring water brings tumbling and splashing waves, which are particularly magnificent.
Ansai Waist Drum
The Ansai Waist Drum was originally used to enhance troop morale in the past, usually performed in groups. Fast-paced drumming, powerful pace, changeable dispositions, and majestic shouting fully display masculine beauty.
Qinqiang (Shaanxi Opera)
Qinqiang is an ancient opera found throughout Guanzhong and has long been a symbol of the culture of Shaanxi. The simple, straightforward, bold, and exaggerative performances of Qinqiang also reflect the upright character of the people of Shaanxi and Gansu.
The Shadow Play is an ingenious combination of Chinese folk arts and drama. Originally a palace drama, it spread among the common folk after the Tang Dynasty. It retains its original style.
Northern Shaanxi Folk Songs
Northern Shaanxi folk songs, also known as “Xintianyou,” are masterpieces handed down from the Loess Plateau. They are the most distinctive kind of Northern Shaanxi folk songs, and best represent the charm of those folk songs.
Mount Hua, originally known as “West Great Mountain,is hailed as “the most precipitous mountain in the world.” There are five peaks: the East Peak, West Peak, South Peak, North Peak, and Center Peak. Famous attractions include the Cliffside Plank Road high up in the air, Sparrow Hawk’s Cliff, Thousand-foot Precipice, Hundred-Foot Valley and so on.
The East Peak is one of the main peaks of Mount Hua, including the four summits of Jade Maiden Summit, Stone Tower Summit, Broad Terrace Summit and Chaoyang Summit. Among them, Chaoyang Summit, which is high and imposing, is most famous for its view of the sunrise.
Despite its neat appearance, the West Peak is a completely natural rock. The towering precipice in the northwest seems to be cut by knives and saws. The West Peak has the Cuiyun Palace, Lianhua Cave, God’s Foot, Ax-cut Stone, Sheshen Cliff and other landscapes, with many beautiful myths and legends.
Bold cliffs surround the North Peak. The summit is formed by several groups of rocks, all appearing very natural. On the peak, one can find Zhenwu Temple, Shentu Cliff, Laojun Hanging Plow Site, Iron Ox Platform, White Clouds Wonderland Stone Arch and other attractions.
Cliffside Plank Road
Cliffside Plank Road is the most famous precipitous road in Mount Hua. There are steep precipices and cliffs up and down the road with hanging iron chains beside. The 1-inch-wide stone road is fixed by stone pillars at the bottom. Here, visitors need to face and stick to the cliff, step on the wooden rafters, and move forward horizontally.
Recommended Tourist Itineraries
Ancient Capital Xi'an
Route: Xi’an City Wall — Bell Tower — Giant Wild Goose Pagoda — Tang Paradise — Terracotta Warriors and Horses — Huaqing Pool
Sight: Xi’an, Athens, Cairo, and Rome are known as the four major ancient capitals of civilization. It is the starting point of the Silk Road described by Marco Polo. Thirteen dynasties established their capital in Xi’an, leaving a large number of historical sites.
A Tour of Shanbei
Route: Yan’an — Yulin
Sight: Located in tlie core of China’s Loess Plateau, Shanbei is a key site of the Chinese revolution, and retains a number of historical sites from the revolutionary period. The exciting Ansai waist drum and Xintianyou, as well as the magic residential Yaodong in Northern Shaanxi can all be found here.
A Tour of Shannan
Route: Hanzhong — Ankang — Shangluo
Sight: Although located in Northwest China, Shannan enjoys a beautiful Southern style. The ecology of Hanzhong is the best protected of similar sites at the same latitude. There are many rare wild animals and plants. The sea of rapeseed flowers is fascinating.
Shaanxi cuisine has its own style and strong local characteristics. It is best known fbr a wide variety of cooked wheaten food. There are many local snacks. Mutton and bread pieces in soup, multi-layer steamed bread, Huanggui persimmon cake, Saozi noodles, Chinese hamburgers, etc., are among the most famous.
Mutton and bread pieces in soup is the most popular dish in Xi’an. It is finely cooked with many ingredients, so it has strong flavors. The mutton is well cooked and the soup is rich and thick, but not greasy, with a delightful taste.
Shaanxi tourist souvenirs all have strong local characteristics, such as paper cutting, clay sculpture, embroidery, Qinqiang (Shaanxi opera) masks, etc. In addition, there are many local special products, such as mung bean cake, walnuts and dates.
The Fengxiang clay sculpture is by far the oldest clay handmade product preserved in China with the most ethnic characteristics. With line drawing and painted sculptures, a typical example is the tiger head sculpture, lifelike with beautiful shapes and bright colors.
Shaanxi has airports in Xi’an, Yan’an, Yulin, Ankang and Hanzhong. Among them, Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is the largest airport in the Northwest Region and the fourth largest airport in China.
Passenger railway transport in Shaanxi Province is well developed, with the Lanzhou-Lianyungang Railway running across the province. There are also other lines running through the province and reaching outside. People can get to Shaanxi from major cities in the country by train. Xi’an, the provincial capital of Shaanxi, is a railway transport hub for North China, East China, South-central China and the Central Plain, connecting the Southwest and Northwest regions.
A total of nine expressways and eight national highways pass through Shaanxi. Xi’an is a highway transportation hub of Northwest China and its passenger transport network is very convenient.