A popular stop on many Asian river cruise itineraries, Xi’an is an impressive Chinese city perhaps most famous for its incredible Terracotta Army. One of the oldest cities in China, Xi’an’s history dates back more than 3,000 years and was known as Chang’an before the reign of the Ming Dynasty.
Today, Xi’an is a popular tourist destination, as well as being the epicenter of China’s national security and space exploration programs. In English, Xi’an literally means “western peace.”
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
Xi’an, China is usually utilized as a pre/post-cruise stop, and as such will be guided or bussed.
When in Xi’an…
There’s no shortage of sights to see in this fascinating city :
- Terracotta Army– Located outside the city and housed within the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, these incredible shrines were ordered constructed in the 3rd Century BC at the request of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Three different vaults hold more than 8,000 warriors, roughly 100 chariots, and in excess of 20,000 weapons. The site has been informally dubbed The Eighth Wonder of the World.
- Xi’an City Wall – The largest city wall in the world, the Xi’an City Wall is impressive for both its width and length. A complete circuit of the wall can take up to five hours on foot, so you may want to rent a bicycle if the weather cooperates (even still, this takes approximately two hours). At night, the wall is brightly lit and makes for a popular strolling point.
- Giant Wild Goose Pagoda – This pagoda was originally built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty, and stands at a height of 210 feet, offering spectacular views of Xi’an.
- Great Mosque of Xi’an – The oldest and most-renowned mosque in the country, the Great Mosque of Xi’an was first constructed in 742, and is still used by Chinese Muslims to this day as a place of worship and prayer.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- The currency of China is the Yuan (¥).
- While many major attractions and hotel will have North American-style toilets, chances are that you’re likely to encounter the more common variety, which requires squatting over a hole in the ground. As a precaution, carry around a small box of tissue or roll of toilet paper in a knapsack.