Shaanxi Province in Northwest China has been part of the cradle of Chinese civilization and abounds with historical sites. The Lantian ape man of some 800,000 years ago and the site of a maternal clan commune at Banpo dating back to 6,000 years ago were found in this province. Xi'an, the provincial capital, known as Chang'an in ancient times, was the starting point of the Silk Road and served as the imperial capital for many dynasties.
Xi'an (ancient Chang'an)|
Xi'an was called Chang'an in ancient time. Historians acclaim Chang'an together with Athens of Greece, Rome of Italy and Istanbul of Turkey as the four capitals of ancient civilization of the world.
Chang'an served as the capital of 11 dynasties in history. From here 73 emperors ruled over China for an aggregate time of 1,100 years. It was from Chang'an in 139 B.C. that Zhang Qian set out on his westward long journey that opened the Silk road. Chang'an subsequently became a juncture where East and West met and grew into the most flourishing capital in the Orient during the Han and Tang dynasties. The importance and prosperity of this ancient capital there left behind a wealth of valuable historical sites. However it is more than those tombs, monasteries and temples of the emperors and the Qin emperor's terra-cotta soldiers and generals. The vicinity of Xi'an has sites of maternal clan societies of some 6,000 years ago - an indication of the profundity of the long Chinese civilization.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda Big Wild Goose Pagoda, stands in the compound of the Temple of Great Maternal Grace some four kilometers south of the city proper. It was built in 629 A. D. to keep the 657 volumes of Buddhist scripture brought back by the famous monk Xuan Zang from india. The monk stayed in the temple for 11 years studying and translating the Buddhist scripture. The pagoda is also a safe for keeping invaluable ancient works of paintings, calligraphy and sculpture.