The rectangular-shaped city of Xian is surrounded by a wall with its streets and avenues forming a grid-like pattern. The Bell Tower is at the city centre and from there four main streets lead out into the four points of the compass – North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street.
When locals refer to within the city walls, this applies to sites such as the Bell and Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter and Forest of Stelae Museum (amongst others).
Getting around Xi'an
Xian is a bustling city with good public transport and plenty of taxis. Public buses are the main form of daily transportation. The main bus station is situated opposite the train station just outside the city walls. A good bus line for tourists is the 610, which visits most of the famous sites including the Bell Tower and Tang Paradise. As of June 2007, Xian introduced the North/South train line; the first line.
Officials claim it will take one year to build and once the North/South line is built, they will build an East/West line which is projected to take another year. Once North/South and East/West are completed (2009), a beltway is planned around the outside of the city. For those who prefer the comfort and convenience of taxis they are plentiful but visitors should bear in mind that the industry is not as regulated as it is in other larger cities like Beijing. In other respects, however, Xian shares a lot in the way of common ground with Beijing.
The Shaanxi province is part of the Loss Plateau, an area covered by thick layers of microscopic silt that blew down from Siberia during the Ice Age. The Qinling Mountains sit to the south and the Weihe River to the north.
It is in a warm temperate zone, and has a continental monsoon climate with four distinct seasons; Xian is hot and wet in summer, snowy in winter and is prone to spells of rain in spring and autumn.
It can get sweltering during the summer and freezing during the wintertime. The best months for travel are between spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).
Good to Know
Be sure to pick up a copy of the Xian Traffic and Tourist Map, a bilingual publication that will prove as useful as your right arm with its extensive listings and regularly updated bus and train routes. Depending on the season that you visit, suitable clothing differs. If visiting during the winter period is sure to bring some hearty knits and a warm and well-lined coat as temperatures drop to freezing. The summertime is a sweltering contrast with temperatures soaring and shorts, T-shirts and fine clothing being more appropriate.
Extensions can be obtained from the PSB, located two blocks west of the Bell Tower on the south side of the road at Xi Dajie 138 Tel: 029/9727-5934; open Mon-Fri 08:30-12:00 and 15:00-18:00 Extensions take three working days to process.
|Population||about 8.2 million|
|Xian Tourist Complaints||87630166|
|Shaanxi Tourist Complaints||85261437|
|Telephone Number Inquiry||114|
|Public Buses Complaints||16801315|