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History of Xian


Zhou Dynasty established its capital in Feng and Hao between the late 11th century BC and 770 BC, both located west of contemporary Xian.

Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC) constructed its capital in the north shore of Wei River, which was burned by Xiang Yu at the end of the dynasty.

202 BC: Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, established Chang'an County as his capital; his first palace Changle Palace was built across the river from the ruin of the Qin capital. This is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an and Xian.

200 BC: Emperor Liu Bang built Weiyang Palace in Chang'an.

194 BC: Construction of the first city wall of Chang'an began, which did not finished until 190 BC. The wall measured 25.7 km in length, 12-16 m in thickness at the base. The area within the wall was ca. 36 square km.

AD 582: Emperor of Sui Dynasty ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing (great excitement). It consisted of three sections: the Palace, the Imperial City, and the civilian section. The total area within the wall was 84 square km, The main street Zhuque Avenue measured 155 m in width. It was the largest city in the world. The city was renamed Chang'an (everlasting peace) in Tang Dynasty.

7th century: Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, well-known as Tang Sanzang in China, established a sizeable translation centre after returning from India with Sanskrit scriptures.

AD 701: Construction of Da Yan Pagoda (Great Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 64 m in height. This pagoda was constructed for the storage of the translation of the Buddha Sutra obtained from India by the monk Xuan Zang.

AD 707: Construction of Xiao Yan Pagoda (Little Wild Goose Pagoda) began. It measured 45 m in height. After the earthquake of 1556 AD, its height was reduced to 43.4 m.

AD 904: The end of Tang Dynasty brought destruction to Chang'an. Residences were forced to move to Luoyang, the new capital. Only a small area continued to be occupied after the destruction.

AD 1370: Ming Dynasty built a new wall to protect a much smaller city of 12 square km. The wall measures 11.9 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15-18 m in thickness at the base.
This city was the site of the Xian Incident in 1936 during World War II. The Xian Incident brought the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang to a truce so the two forces could concentrate on fighting against Japan.