Tang dynasty three-color ceramic horse at the Shaanxi History Museum, Xi’an
Centuries before the Forbidden City and Beijing were the center of China, there was the fantastic city of Chang’an (长安, the City of Eternal Peace), capital of the Tang dynasty (618 to 907 AD) at the site of today’s Xi’an. Still known as the golden period of China’s history, the Tang dynasty was affluent, artistic, worldly and open. Its arts, language, merchants and religion reached Japan and Korea, Central Asia, and even influenced culture in Europe. Chang’an was one of the biggest cities of the pre-modern world, with nearly two million people. The dynasty eventually grew weak and fell apart in 907, but traces of the era and its grand capital can still be found in modern Xi’an.
From remnants of the massive city wall and an imperial palace four times the size of the Forbidden City, to Buddhist pagodas that still stand today and gardens where you can relive the glory of the Tang, you can find China’s golden days very much alive in Xi’an. If you’re a fan of Chinese poetry and classic literature, Xi’an is a must-visit, as many of the greatest poets spent some time in Tang Chang’an. Imperial tombs, classical artwork, music and dance all keep the Tang dynasty alive in Xi’an.
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