Geography of Xi'an

Xi'an (also Sian or Hsi-an), China, the capital of Shaanxi province. The city lies in the Wei River valley, about 570 miles (917 km) southwest of Beijing.

Xi'an is a trade and transportation center on one of China's main east-west railways. Industries include the manufacturing of textiles, machinery, fertilizers, and plastics. Xi'an Jiaotong University, a provincial library, and one of China's foremost historical museums are here. Near Xi'an is the tomb of Chin Shih Huang Ti, which dates to the third century B.C. Outside the tomb are more than 7,000 terra-cotta warriors. (For picture, , section "History.")

Inhabited since about 6,000 B.C., Xi'an is one of China's oldest settled areas. The city served as the capital of several ancient tribal states and dynasties and became prominent when the Han established their capital here in 206 B.C. The city was then known as Changan. Xi'an's greatest period came under the Tang dynasty, founded in 618. For nearly 300 years the city was the political and cultural center of China, during a golden age of art and literature.

Following the end of the Tang dynasty in 907, Xi'an entered a period of decline. It revived after 1368, when it became a provincial capital under the Ming dynasty, and it remained an important city under the Manchus (1644–1912).

Population: 3,123,000.