The Xi'an story
Xi'an, or Western Peace, was the capital of China for more than 1,000 years. The tomb of China's first emperor, Qinshihuangdi, is located in its eastern suburbs, along with one of the world's most famous archeological sites, the Terracotta Army - some 6,000 sculptures buried to guard the first emperor in the afterlife. About 2 million tourists visit the Terracotta Army every year, making it China's second most popular site after the Great Wall.
The old city, with its intact Ming Dynasty wall and grand Bell Tower and Drum Tower, together with the vibrant Muslim Quarter are also major tourist attractions. Xi'an was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road that connected China via Central Asia to Europe and the Middle East. The cosmopolitan culture of China's Tang, Sui, and Han dynasties is part of what makes the city such an exciting place today, even as it undergoes a major facelift aimed at making it one of China's most beautiful modern cities.
Today, Xi'an is growing rapidly, with a population of more than 8 million. The central government's Go West policy has designated Xi'an as the regional economic center for western China.
In the Baqiao District, a new water city is unfolding 10 kilometers to the east of Xi'an along the Ba River, now included within the central city zone. The water city will be home to about 900,000 people. It is due to receive RMB 50 billion (US$7.2 billion) in investment from the municipal government over the next 10 years. In addition to residential and commercial development, the city is also building a major container terminal and logistics center in Baqiao District designed to take advantage of its strategic position as major railway hub to western China.
The Xi'an government has already completed three expressways linking Baqiao to downtown Xi'an, as well as a five-star Kempinski Hotel that is the permanent conference center for the biennial Euro-Asia Economic Forum. A wetlands park and scenic bridges links the two banks of the Ba River as well as the Chanba peninsula formed by the confluence of the Chan and Ba Rivers.
This new Chanba Lifestyle Development is now extending southward into a 487-acre zone adjacent to a planned subway line connecting the Chanba peninsula and Baqiao District with downtown Xi'an, the Xianyang international airport, and the Terracotta Army museum and park 26 kilometers east of Xi'an.
The first of six planned subway lines in the new Xi'an municipal system, line two, running north-south along Chang An Street, began construction in 2006 and is due to open in 2011. It runs 26.4 km and connects the Xi'an Railway Station with Changyanbu. The second line, line one, will run east-west through the Baqiao District to the eastern suburb of Xianyang, with its international airport that serves Xi'an. It is scheduled for completion in 2013. The entire system is to be completed by 2020.
The city's new 12-year plan, from 2008 to 2020, will see average living area per person in the central city grow from 161 square feet in 2007 to 237 square feet in 2010 and 355 square feet in 2020. By 2020, the city will add 1.4 billion square feet of new housing to meet these needs reflecting rising incomes as well as higher expectations of its population. Some 567.4 million square feet will be built by 2010.
For more about Xi'an, please visit the Xi'an Tourism China website at http://en1.xian-tourism.com