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The Silk Road Travel Guide

  • Photo: chungking / Shutterstock

Xian

Many first-time visitors to Xian are seeking the massive terra-cotta army standing guard over the tomb of China's first emperor. Xian was known in ancient times as Chang’an (meaning Long Peace), and was one of the largest and most cultured cities in the world. During the Tang Dynasty—considered by many Chinese to be the nation's cultural pinnacle—the city became an important center for the

arts. Not surprisingly, this creative explosion coincided with the height of trade on the Silk Road, bringing Turkish fashions to court and foreigners from as far away as Persia and Rome. Although the caravan drivers of yesteryear have long since turned to dust, their memory lives on in the variety of faces seen in Xian.

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