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Xi'an (Chinese: 西安; Hanyu pinyin: Xī'ān;) is the current capital of Shanxi Province, China. It was one of the 4 great capitols of China, along with Beijing, Nanjing, and Luoyang. Formerly known as Chang'an (eternal/perpetuating peace), and Xijing, (Eastern Capitol), Xi'an is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Eurasia. As such, it has one of the richest cultural heritages of any city inhabited today.[1] Xian held the position of Capitol, during some of the most important stages in Chinese history, including the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi'an is the eastern terminus of the Silk road, and historians believe the "Glorious city" Marco Polo wrote about was Xi'an. Currently, Xi'an is one of the most populous cities in the midlands; it has a population of 8 million. Xi'an is home to China's space program research, and nuclear research.


西安 literally means "Western Peace". During the Han dynasty, it was named "长安", as eternal peace. Oddly, during the Sui, the "安" part was abandoned, for "京", meaning capitol, causing Xi'an to be known, simply, as the western capitol.


Xi'an has an incredibly rich cultural history, with evidence of human settlement, dating 29,000 years ago. The first true emperor of China, Qin Zhi Huang Di, built his mausoleum, and terracotta army, to the east of the city.[2] 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 old Qin palaces. Later, the Sui ordered the construction of another palace, complete with city surrounding it. However, in 904, severe political upheavals, decimated the population of Xi'an. The population was forced to move to the new, safer capitol, Luoyang. It wasn't for another 100 years that Xi'an was inhabited again. In 1399, the Ming created a large city wall, that remains today.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Xi'an". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-09-03. https://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/542532/Xian
  2. the life and lies of the Qin, Shaanxi shida university press, issn 1920-2938-2928
  3. ^ Zhongguo Gujin Diming Dacidian 中国古今地名大词典, 2005. (Shanghai: Shanghai Cishu Chubanshe), 1540.