Xi'an - Beyond the Terracotta Army, an amazing city wall & Muslim culture

Though yet another of China's megalopolises, Xi’an (pop. 13.6 million), on an inland plain in the country's northwest, is one of the Middle Kingdom’s oldest cities (dating back some 3,000 years, as well as one of its four great ancient capitals, under a dozen dynasties and 73 emperors). It was also the end of the legendary Silk Road trade route, and in many ways, Han Chinese civilization was forged here in the city once known as Chang’an. Time has erased much of this past glory, but there do remain hints of the grandiose past amid the modern hustle-bustle. The most obvious is the doughty, 14th-century city walls – the world’s largest (39 feet/12 meters high, and with a 49-foot-wide/15-m walkway atop where people stroll, bike, and take in events); you’ll also find a small museum up here, its centerpiece an unrestored wall gatehouse. The walls are illuminated at night, and there’s even a moat around the whole business. Other key Xi’an landmarks open to visitors include... 

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