Xi’an or Chang’an: Two Names, One City

Xi'an or Chang'an - Two Names, One City

Xi’an and Chang’an have deep historical roots and close connections. In fact, Chang’an is the ancient name for Xi’an, and both share similarities in geographical location and cultural significance.

Xi’an, as the capital of Shaanxi Province, is the largest central city in northwest China. Situated in the middle of the Guanzhong Plain, it is bordered to the north by the Wei River and to the south by the Qinling Mountains. Xi’an is not only an important central city in the western region of China but also a significant hub for national scientific research, education, and industry. The city boasts rich cultural heritage sites such as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor with the Terracotta Army, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, each bearing witness to Xi’an’s extensive history and profound cultural heritage.

Chang’an (ever-lasting peace), with its poetic name, was once synonymous with Xi’an. Historically, Chang’an was one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization and served as the political, economic, and cultural center for multiple dynasties. From the 11th century BCE to the 10th century CE, Chang’an was the capital for 13 different dynasties, earning it the reputation as one of the “Four Great Ancient Capitals of the World,” alongside Rome, Cairo, and Athens. Chang’an culture represents the backbone of Chinese civilization, serving as both the cradle of the Chinese nation and an outstanding representative of Chinese culture.

Xi’an has developed into a modern city while still retaining many aspects of ancient Chang’an. Whether it’s the city walls, the Bell and Drum Towers, or attractions like the Huaqing Pool, visitors can experience the prosperity and grandeur of ancient Chang’an. At the same time, Xi’an is a vibrant city with numerous universities, research institutions, and a thriving economy and cultural scene.

In conclusion, Xi’an and Chang’an are essentially two different names for the same city. Chang’an is the ancient name for Xi’an, while Xi’an represents the continuation of Chang’an into modern times. Whether tracing the footsteps of history or experiencing the vibrancy of modern urban life, Xi’an is a destination worthy of exploration.

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