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Xi’an: Home of the Mythic Terracotta Army

Beyond Yangtze

Spectacular Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,000 years of recorded history.  This vibrant metropolis lies in the heart of central China, at the meeting place of rivers and streams, and at the foot of the majestic Qinling Mountains.  It was one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, and was once the end point of the famed Silk Road.  Today, visitors come from everywhere to visit Xi’an and its world famous Terracotta Army.  Xi’an was home to China’s first emperor, the powerful Qin Shi Huang, who ordered more than 7,000 life-sized soldiers, horses and chariots to be made out of clay to protect his tomb.  The city is also the site of the beautiful Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the remains of the ancient City Wall which once protected Xi’an from attack.  Modern Xi’an is also home to the Chinese space exploration program.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1:   When you arrive in Xi’an, your guide will meet you and escort you to your comfortable hotel, where you can refresh and relax before starting your tour of this historic city.

Day 2:   Your visit to Xi’an will begin with a tour of the ancient City Wall, which was built in the 13th century to protect the people from invasion.  The Wall still surrounds Xi’an’s city centre, and it is wide enough to ride a bike or an electric cart around the entire 14-kilometre circuit.  Enjoy the incredible views of the city and distant countryside on both sides of the wall.  After your tour of the City Wall, you will visit the fascinating Saanxi Historical Museum, which features the famed fossils of Lantian Man, who lived in the area nearly 2 million years ago.  After that, you will head to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. This towering pagoda was built in the 7th century and holds many statues of Buddha carried here along the Silk Road from India. After dinner, you will enjoy a performance at the Evening Show at Tang Yuegong, which features beautiful songs and dances from the ancient Tang Dynasty.

Day 3:    Today will be a highlight of your visit to China, as you visit the spectacular Terracotta Warriors.  This massive army of clay soldiers has guarded the tomb of Emperor Qin since 210 BC, but it was only discovered by local farmers digging a well in 1974.  Since that time, the Terracotta Army has captured the world’s imagination, and millions of people come here every year to gaze at the intricately sculpted soldiers, horses and military gear.  Look closely at the faces of the thousands of life-sized soldiers in full battle gear, because no two are alike!  More than 700,000 workers built this mausoleum for their emperor, and his silent army, and estimates say there are still thousands more statues still undiscovered under the soil of Xi’an.  After lunch, you will leave for Chongqing, where you will start your three-day adventure on a spectacular Yangtze River cruise.