Xi'an, one of China's oldest cities, was the capital of the Zhou, Qin (Ch'in) (221-206 BC), and Western (earlier) Han (206 BC-AD 8) dynasties. It was again the capital under the Sui (589-618) emperors, and, known as Changan (also Ch'ang-an), was the capital and prosperous eastern terminus of Central Asian trade routes under the Tang emperors. Abandoned as the capital after the fall of the Tang, it began a long period of decline that lasted until Ming times.
Rapid industrialization of the city began in the 1950s. Population (1990 estimate) 1,930,000.
Landmarks of special interest are the tomb of China's first emperor, Shihuangdi (Shih-huang-ti), archaeological excavations of which began in 1977.
Major cities near Xi'an:
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