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西安 Xi'an
   2015-05-15 15:36:39    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Qin Mei

Related news: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Xi'an on Thursday, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the first stop in his 3-day tour of China.

Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi, Chinese President Xi Jinping's ancestral home province. Xi also joins Modi in Shaanxi. This is seen as a reciprocal gesture after Modi hosted Xi in his home state of Gujarat last year during Xi's visit to India.

Xi'an is also featured in the famous Chinese classic "the Journey to the West"(西游记) that was based on the travels of monk Xuanzang(玄奘) who started his journey to India from Chang'an, the ancient name for Xi'an.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2-R) and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk to a monk during their visit to the Da Ci'en Temple, a famous scenic spot located in Xi'an, capital city of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, on May 14, 2015. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

Xi'an西安 xī ān

In ancient times, Xi'an was called Chang'an(长安), meaning "prolonged political stability". The city served as the capital of most dynasties and for the longest period of time. Xi'an was the starting point of the well-known Silk Road and the center of oriental civilization. Hence, the historical saying, "Chang'an to the East is what Rome is to the West."

Xi'an today still preserves its Bell Tower(钟楼), Wild Goose Pagoda(大雁塔) and other ancient buildings. The Bell Tower was erected during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is the largest and most complete structure of its kind that still remains today. It was said that during the Ming Dynasty, the region was prone to frequent earthquakes because of the flood dragon. The Emperor was scared. When he learned that a bell that produced the sounds of Heaven and Earth could control the flood dragon, he had a bell tower built in the center of the city. No nails were used in its construction. But miraculously, the tower survived the four earthquakes with magnitudes greater than six, which the city experienced----a wonder in the history of architecture. The Wild Goose Pagoda is seen as the symbol of Xi'an City. It has been used to house Buddhist scriptures brought from India by Xuan Zang, a reversed monk of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Standing at the top of the pagoda, one can treat himself to a panoramic view of the entire city.

A performance is held to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, May 14, 2015. [Photo: Xinhua]

Xi'an cuisine is very distinctive. Before visitors leave, they are advised to try roujiamo(肉夹馍 deep-fried dough cake stuffed with beef slices), yangroupaomo(羊肉泡馍 minced dough cake in hot mutton soup) and liangpi(凉皮cold noodles). If you like music, you can go and watch the local Qin opera. What characterizes Qin opera(秦腔) is that the performance often yell when they sing which suits the bold and uninhabited people of Northwestern China. In Xi'an, many people love to sing Qin opera pieces. Be sure to have a listen when you are there.

[gǔ chéng] 古城 ancient city
[jiàn zhù] 建筑 architecture
[sī chóu zhī lù] 丝绸之路 Silk Road
[zhōng lóu] 钟楼 Bell Tower

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