Xian Overview

Xi'an Overview will present you the overall information about Xi'an concerning basic information, geographical location, climate, economy, natural resources and so on.

Basic Information


Xi 'an City is located in Guanzhong Basin in the middle of Weihe River Basin, at 33 degrees 39 N and 107 degrees 40 E, bordering Weihe River and Loess Plateau in the north and Qinling Mountains in the south. East to Huaxian county, Weinan city, Shangzhou city, Luonan County, the west is bounded by Taibai Mountain and Qinghua Loess Tableland and borders Meixian and Taibai County, o the north of Xi'an, along the border of Huangtu Highland, the Beishan mountain system consist of Liang mountain, Yellow Dragon Mountain, Yaowang Mountain and Long Mountain which echo one another at a distance with Qinling Mountains, which forms a barrier around the Guanzhong Plain. Wei River, the largest branch of Yellow River, flows across Guanzhong Plain. Guanzhong Plain came into being due to the alleviation of Wei River and its branches, so it is also called Weihe Plain. With the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north, it is in a favorable geographical location surrounded by water and hills.

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Xi'an, located roughly in the geographical center of Mainland China, with its climate lies between a cold and hot semi-arid climate. It is hot and wet in summer with many thunderstorms, dry and occasionally snowy in winter, and prone to extended spells of rain in autumn while the warm spring can be dusty due to sandstorms. The rainy season is from July to September, though there is significant rain from April through to October, with light, scattered showers.

Best Time to Visit 

Considering the climate and weather conditions in Xi'an, the best time to visit Xi'an is Spring and Autumn, from March to MaySeptember to November. For tourists from southern regions, winter is also an agreeable time to visit Xi'an with less crowded scenic spots, and it is high time to experience the snowy scenes, moreover, the tour budget can be lowered. 

Administrative Divisions

As of 2018, the sub-provincial city of Xi'an has direction jurisdiction over 11 districts and 2 counties, which are Weiyang District (未央区) , Xincheng District (新城区), Beilin District (碑林区), Lianhu District (莲湖区), Baqiao District (灞桥区), Yanta District (雁塔区), Yanliang District (阎良区), Lintong District (临潼区), Chang'an District (长安区),  Gaoling District (高陵区), Huyi District (鄠邑区), Lantian County (蓝田县), and  Zhouzhi County (周至县). The sub-provincial government seat of Xi'an is located in  Weiyang Square, Fengcheng Balu Road, Weiyang District (西安市未央区凤城八路未央广场).


Xi'an culture carries many heritages of the dynasties it had went though. Xi 'an is an important birthplace of Chinese history and culture, and one of the earliest regions where human civilization developed. In the history of the Chinese nation for thousands of years, perhaps no other city has enjoyed such a lofty status and incomparable splendor as Xi'an has. This section will give you an introduction to Xi'an culture including Xi'an dialect, Xi'an religions such as Buddhism, Taoism and Muslim as well as Xi'an folk culture like food culture, Qinqiang opera and Xi'an artctrafts, etc.

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Xi’an transportation has served as hub since ancient times as it marked the start of the famous "Silk Road" that linked China with central Asia and the Roman Empire.  It is now the core area of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, an important central city in western China, and an important scientific research, education and industrial base of China. It is also one of the first-stop cities in China for foreign tourists, provided with convenient modern transportation facilities. It is quite easy to get around in. You can get there by train, airplanes or bus. 

Xi 'an Xianyang International Airport, 47 kilometers away from the city, is the only airport in Xi 'an and the largest air traffic hub in the northwest. It operates around 350 air lines to about 120 cities / regions at home and abroad, covering all provincial capitals, major industrial cities and major tourist cities in the country. Xi 'an enjoys a well-developed railway transportation. There are three railway stations, namely  Xi 'an Railway Station,  Xi 'an South Railway Station,  Xi 'an North Railway Station. Xi'an is also provided with convenient city transportation by metros, buses, taxi and sharing bicycles. At present, there are four metro lines being operated in Xi'an reaching major districts of the city, and the bus transportation is well-developed, you can get to every attraction in Xi'an by bus usually at the cost of 1 or 2 yuan. 

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Things to Do

During your Xi'an tour, you can visit the historical relics, museums, enjoy local food as Xi'an is renamed as the capital of snacks, moreover, travel to Mt. Huashan is also highly recommended while cycling on Xi'an Ancient City Wall is a must-do during your travel to Xi'an.

Must-see Attractions for First-time Visit to Xi'an

As an ancient capital of 13 dynasties, Xi'an is rich in its culture and has a collection of historical sites. The following scenic spots are the most popular ones in Xi 'an and also the must-see attractions for first-time visit to Xi’an, including historical sites, food streets and city landmarks, such as  Terra-Cotta Warriors,  Muslim Quarter,  Xi'an Ancient City Wall ,  Bell Tower and Drum TowerShaanxi History Museum and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Except Terracotta Warriors, which is 40 km (25 mi) northeast of downtown, almost all the sites can be reached by metro, being convenient especially for first-time visitors.

Night Excurtion on Xian Ancient City Wall

The night scene of the Ancient City Wall is more attractive with lights and lanterns shaping the wall. With less visitors, you can better experience another charm of the city wall at night. If you come to  Xi’an during the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival held on the wall in the evening can’t be missed.

Music & Light Fountain Show at the North Square of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

As the famous landmark in Xi 'an, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda welcomes thousands of tourists each day. After visiting the sites in the day time, it is highly recommended not to miss the fountain performance in the evening, which contributes to the glamorous night scene. The fountain performance begins at 20:30 and additional schedule at 18:00 on weekends. The tower is even more beautiful against the fountain performance. The northern end of the music fountain, or the viewing platform between the fountain and the Pagoda, is the best place to take photos. This location is extremely popular and needs to be occupied one hour before the performance starts.

The Ancient Qinqiang Opera Performance

Originated in the Yellow River Valley of Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in northwest China, Qinqiang Opera is a local opera that can be named as the Forefather of Chinese Operas, boasting the most ancient, affluent and largest musical system of all Chinese operas. Its repertoires usually feature such themes as anti-aggression wars, the fight between the loyal and the treacherous, and the struggles against oppression, as well as a number of other topics of strong human interest that reflect the honest, diligent, brave, and upright characteristics of the local people. You can see the native Qingqiang Opera lovers performing in the park on the foot of the Xi'an Ancient City Wall. 

Shadow Play 

Shadow play is an ancient and peculiar Chinese folk opera art, belonging to Shaanxi intangible heritage. You can enjoy a simple version shadow play and feel the distinctive Shaanxi dialect in the Muslim QuarterGao’s Grand Courtyard, Yanyuan Shadow Play (雁园皮影戏) of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Hao Yun Lai Shadow Play (好运来皮影戏).

Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show 大唐歌舞秀

The Tang Dynasty Show, also known as “Music & Dance Dinner Show in Xian” is the pride of the city. Boosted by Xi’an Tourism Board and daily operated in major theatres, it combines two parts: the fabulous music and dance performance and Chinese dumpling banquet, both indulging your eyes and tongue! The show includes an entertaining combination of live music, dance and poetry performed by talented dancers and singers outfitted in gorgeous costumes that help bring the history of ancient China to life. Xi’an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty, making this show the perfect thing to do while visiting the city. “Dream Back to the Tang Dynasty” show is also one of its kind, tourists can watch the show in the Tang Paradise

Everlasting Sorrow Performance 长恨歌

The Everlasting Sorrow Performance is presented on the real-scene in Huaqing Hot Spring with the backdrop of Lishan Mountain and the ponds, pavilions, corridors and palaces in the background. The performance is a real-scene singing and dancing historical drama with dazzling lights, beautiful music and songs, lavish costumes and the grand stage which is partially submerged in the water. The poem-turned drama is presented in four parts with a preclude and 10 scenes. The four parts include “Fall in Love”, “A Sweet Couple”, “Goodbye to Love” and “Meet again on Fairyland”. Tourist can watch the show after enjoy the hot spring.


In 2018, Xi 'an's annual GDP was 834.986 billion yuan, an increase of 8.2% over the previous year. Among them, the added value of the primary industry was 25.882 billion yuan, up 3.3%. The added value of the secondary industry was 292.561 billion yuan, up 8.5%. The added value of the tertiary industry was 516.543 billion yuan, up 8.3%. The composition of the three industries is 3.1:35.0:61.9. Calculated by the resident population, the annual per capita GDP was 85114 yuan, an increase of 5.2% over the previous year. The total industrial output value of Xi'an accounts for 21% of that of all provinces and districts in the northwest area, and 40% of Shaanxi Province; the original value of her industrial fixed assets and paid taxes account for beyond 40% of Shaanxi Province. In addition, the Electronic Industry Zone, the Nation-level Xi'an High and New Technology Develop Zone and Xi'an Economic Technology Develop Zone that have been established since Reform and Opening up, together with those rapidly developed foreign-funded enterprises, stock enterprises, town enterprises and private enterprises, have become a new growth point and newly-born power in Xi'an industry.

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Natural Resources

Water Resources

Xi 'an is a western city lacking water resources, and its groundwater reserves are estimated to be about 1.991 billion cubic meters. In December 2001, the main project of Heihe River Water Control Project was completed, supplying 400 million cubic meters of water to Xi 'an every year, forming a daily water supply capacity of 1.2 million tons. Together with the groundwater resources, the daily water supply capacity of the urban area reaches 1.72 million tons, basically meeting the needs of urban production and living. The plain area to the north of Qinling Mountains has good geological conditions for storing geothermal water. The geothermal area that can be developed only in urban areas is about 780 square kilometers, and the recoverable reserves of geothermal water are about 539 million cubic meters.

Land Resources

The distribution of soil in Xi 'an forms two regions with obvious differences between the north and the south. Yellow brown soil and cinnamon soil are the representative ones of Weihe River Plain in the north, and yellow brown soil and brown soil are the representative ones of Qinling Mountains in the south. According to the soil census from 1980 to 1986, there are 12 soil types, 24 soil subtypes, 50 soil genera and 181 soil species in the city. The complexity and diversity of soil types provide favorable conditions for the multi-variety combination of crops in the region.

Biological Resources

Xi 'an's natural vegetation has not been directly invaded by Quaternary continental glaciers, it well preserved the Ancient Tertiary relict plant, such as gingko, turquoise, Cercidiphyllaceae, Paliurus, etc. Natural vegetation types such as alpine shrub meadow, coniferous forest, mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest and deciduous broad-leaved forest are vertically distributed from high altitude to low altitude in Qinling Mountains. Wild plants are abundant in natural vegetation. As of 2016, there are 138 families, 681 genera and 2224 species of wild plants, which is one of the important "gene banks" of seed plants in China. The Weihe River Plain is mainly composed of cultivated plants such as field crops, vegetables, orchards and urban greening. Wild animal resources are mainly distributed in the Qinling Mountains, with 55 species of mammals and 177 species of birds, including rare animals such as giant panda, golden monkey, wildebeest Qinling subspecies, hyena, giant salamander, black stork, white-crowned pheasant, blood pheasant, golden rooster, etc. In order to protect the natural ecosystem and rare animal and plant resources, three national nature reserves have been established in China.

Mineral Resources

Xi 'an has complex strata in various structural types, which provide favorable conditions for the formation of various mineral resources. As of 2016, 47 kinds of mineral resources have been discovered, including 21 kinds of metal minerals, 22 kinds of nonmetal minerals, 2 kinds of energy minerals and 2 kinds of other minerals. Most of the metal and nonmetal minerals are distributed in the southern Qinling Mountains.

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Economy of Xi’an

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Geography of Xian

Geography of Xian

Xi ‘an City is located in Guanzhong Basin in the middle of Weihe River Basin, at 33 degrees 39 N and 107 degrees 40 E, bordering Weihe River and...

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History of Xian

History of Xian

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Xi’an wind and percussion ensemble–intangible heritage

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