The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a landmark in Xi'an.[Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]
Day 2: High and low views
First stop: the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta), which is located in the southern suburb of the city, about 4 kilometers from downtown. A symbol of old Xi'an, the pagoda is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists.
After getting a bird's-eye view of the city from the top of this 64-meter-high structure, visit Shaanxi History Museum, about 1 km northwest of the pagoda. The museum is a grand complex of buildings imitating the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty and showcasing thousands of ancient exhibits.
Day 3: City wall and delicious food
Xi'an boasts the most complete city wall to survive in China - it's also one of the largest ancient military defense systems in the world.
First built in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and renovated in recent years, the wall now stands 12 meters high, 12-14 meters wide at the top and 15-18 meters thick at the bottom. It stretches 13.7 km in length and is surrounded by a deep moat and a circular park.
Try making the circuit on a bicycle: They can be rented by the hour.
The Forest of Stone Steles Museum, inside the wall near the south gate, was the site of the Temple of Confucius during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It was established in 1087 when some precious stone steles were moved in for safekeeping.
With an area of 31,000 sq m and 900 years of history, this treasure house holds some 3,000 stone steles of different periods, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) to the Qing Dynasty.
Also inside the wall, there are a number of traditional Shaanxi restaurants that offer distinctive delicacies, such as Xi'an dumpings, yangrou paomo (crumbled unleavened bread simmered in mutton stew), hulu tou (broth with intestines and tripe), buckwheat and Qishan noodles.