History of Xian

As one of the world’s four famous ancient civilizations, Xi ‘an is a world famous historical and cultural city with a long history. Xian has a history of over 6000 years and had been the capital of countries for 1200 years. There have been 13 dynasties set Xian as their capitals. Since the Western Han Dynasty, Xi’an has become the key city of economic and cultural exchanges and friendly relationships between China and other countries. In ancient times, “Lantian ape man” lived here. The Neolithic “Banpo Ancestors” established tribes here. In the 11th century BC, Emperor Zhou Wenwang established Fenghao Second Capital on both sides of Fenghe River. From then on, Xi ‘an’s millennium glorious history of imperial city was started. It is reputed as “the ancient imperial state of Qin”. Xi ‘an was once China’s political, economic and cultural center and the earliest city to open to the outside world. Xi ‘an was the starting point of the famous Silk Road. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum, one of the “eight wonders of the world”, show the city’s powerful and profound historical and cultural details. Xi ‘an enjoys the reputation of “Natural History Museum” due to its long history and cultural accumulation. There are many kinds of cultural relics and historic sites with large quantity and high value, which are second to none in the country. Many of them are rare treasures in China and the world.

The course of Xi’an history can be divided into 7 sections as follows:

  •  Early History: 1.1 million years ago, in ancient times, the human ancestors Homo Erectus Lantianensis and Neolithic “Banpo ancestors” lived and multiplied here.
  • Zhou Dynasty: 11 century BC, when the Shang Dynasty established Feng at the west river bank of Feng River. Later, King Wu of Zhou established Gao at the east riverbank of Feng River, opened a glorious history of Xian.
  • Qin Dynasty: The  capital was Xianyang. Epang Palace, Terracotta Warriors and Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang were built in that period.
  • Han Dynasty: Han Dynasty was divided into Western Han and Eastern Han Dynasties, Han Dynasty’s Changan City was established on the basis of the ruins of the Qin Xianyang City.
  • Tang Dynasty and Ming Dynasty: Tang Dynasty’s imperial tomb, such as Zhao Mausoleum, Qian Mausoleum, etc. are mostly in today’s Xianyang City. In 1369, Fengyuanlu was changed to Xian Government Office. Xian has been in use ever since.
  • The Republic of China: After the Revolution of 1911 broke out, the capital city of Xi’an was one of the earliest city responded. On December 12, 1936, “Xi’an Incident” shocked the world.
  • The People’s Republic of China: Xian and Xianyang are the same city from 1966 to 1971, and in 1971 designated as two cities. Xian was the provincial capital.

Chang’an was the capital of the following dynasties in 1200 years

Dynasty Name of the Capital  Period as the Capital
Western Zhou Dynasty Gaojing 1046BC – 771BC
Qin Xianyang 350BC – 206BC
Western Han Chang’an  200BC -9AC
 Xin Chang’an  9 AC – 2 AC
 Eastern Han Chang’an  190 AC – 195 AC
 Western Jin Chang’an  313 AC – 316 AC
 Early Zhao Chang’an  319 AC – 328 AC
 Early Qin Chang’an  352 AC – 385 AC
 Later Qin Chang’an  386 AC – 417 AC
 Western Wei Chang’an  534 AC – 557 AC
 Northern Zhou Chang’an  557 AC – 581 AC
 Sui Daxing  581 AC – 618 AC
 Tang Chang’an  618 AC – 904 AC