Tang Dynasty Tour in Xian, Xian (Self Guided)

In Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty is a synonym for prosperity and progress. During a period of almost 300 years, great reforms were implemented and stability was achieved. Also, the Tang emperors chose Xian as their capital city, due to its large population, and developed it throughout their rule. It is highly recommended that you take this tour and visit the places that brought glory to the Tang dynasty.
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Tang Dynasty Tour in Xian Map

Guide Name: Tang Dynasty Tour in Xian
Guide Location: China » Xian (See other walking tours in Xian)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 10.2 km
Author: helenp
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Daming Palace Ruins

1) Daming Palace Ruins (must see)

The Daming Palace was one of the best known palaces of the Tang Dynasty that ruled Xian for more than 250 years. Today the ruins of the old palace that was burnt by fires are being carefully reconstructed by the efforts of the Chinese Government who have declared the site as a National Key Cultural Relic Protection Unit.

The rebuilt Daming Palace was opened for public viewing in 2010. The Emperors of the Tang Dynasty lived and conducted affairs of the State from here. The Tang Emperor Li Shimin built it as a summer palace for his father. At the time it was a grand structure that covered an area of 1.2 square miles. Nine gates led to the original palace. It was divided into two sections. The emperors conducted state affairs in the Qian Chao section and lived in the Nei Ting section. Beside the main palace, there were many smaller palaces and gardens and a pond called the Taiye Pond covering an area of 1.6 hectares. The Daming Palace was burned completely by fires towards the end of the Tang Dynasty.

The complete restoration of all the palace buildings is expected to be finished in late 2012. Visitors can view two thirds of the restored buildings and the surrounding park for free. A fee is charged for viewing the Cultural Relics Preservation and Exhibition area that occupies one third of the restored structure.
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Great Mosque

2) Great Mosque (must see)

The Great Mosque in Xian is the place of worship of the Muslim population especially the Hui people. It is the oldest, largest and best preserved mosque in China.

The Great Mosque was built in Xian during the reign of the Tang Dynasty in 742 AD. Several additions were made to the original structure during the reigns of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Xian is located at the beginning of the historic Silk Route and Muslim traders from other parts of Asia came here for purchasing silk and selling products from their respective countries.

The Great Mosque has a traditional Chinese design unlike those in Arabia and Persia. There are no minarets. The Mosque complex covers an area of 6000 square meters and has four courtyards. The first courtyard has a tile covered wooden arch constructed in the 17th century. There are chambers on either side with furniture dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The second courtyard has a stone arch and steles engraved with calligraphy. The main prayer hall with enough space to accommodate a thousand worshippers is found in the fourth courtyard. It is the only mosque open to visitors in China. Non Muslims are not permitted to visit the main prayer hall when prayer is in session.
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Forest of Stone Steles Museum

3) Forest of Stone Steles Museum (must see)

The Forest of Stone Steles Museum has the largest collection of stone steles from the many dynasties that ruled Xian. It is an interesting stop in the city for handwriting enthusiasts and those who are interested in Chinese culture and history.

The Forest of Stone Steles Museum is housed in a tranquil 11th century Confucian temple. The first collections of steles placed here were the Kaicheng Shi Jing series and the Shitai Xiao Jing steles. Both were carved during the reign of the Tang Dynasty. During the reign of the Song Dynasty, the stele collections were placed in a specially built hall. The well known Chinese calligrapher, Yu Youren donated a large collection of over 300 stele rubbings to the museum in 1936.

Today, the Forest of Stone Steles Museum has over 3000 stone steles. It is the largest collection in China. The museum has seven exhibition halls displaying calligraphy, paintings and historical objects in addition to the stone steles. It also houses the stone sculpture gallery built in 1963. It consists of tomb and religious stone sculpture from the reign of the Tang Dynasty. Two well known exhibits are the Nestorian Stele and an 18th century stele describing a Yangtze River Flood Control Project.

Hours: daily 08:00 to 18:00
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Tang Dynasty Palace (Tangyue Gong)

4) Tang Dynasty Palace (Tangyue Gong) (must see)

The Tang Dynasty Palace is the venue of a well known song and dance show in Xian. The show seeks to recreate the arts culture and cuisine that flourished in the city during the reign of the Tang Dynasty that is regarded as the Golden Age of Xian.

The Tang Dynasty Palace located near the city center of Xian is the best known cultural entertainment theatre restaurants in China. It was established in 1988 and the show is conducted by the Shaanxi Provincial Song and Dance Troupe. They were inspired by the thriving tourist industry of the city to display the performing arts heritage of the region by a series of performances. Their efforts bore fruit and the show is very popular among foreign visitors today.

The Tang Dynasty Palace not only hosts a show but a banquet serving traditional Canton cuisine. The large banquet hall can serve over 600 diners at any given time and covers an area of 2000 square meters. The banquet serves an array of traditional Chinese steamed or fried dumplings called Jiaozi consisting of ground meat or vegetables wrapped in thin dough and fried or steamed. After 8.30 pm, the restaurant serves Midnight Tea a delicious beverage and specialty of Canton cuisine.
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Small Wild Goose Pagoda

5) Small Wild Goose Pagoda (must see)

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the two pagodas in Xian that date back to the Tang Dynasty. It has a unique architectural design that helped the structure withstand the earthquakes that shook the city.

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 707 AD during the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD). It has 15 floors and starts reducing in size from the 6th to the 15th floors giving it a spiral shape. The semicircular base helped the structure to withstand the earthquake of 1487. Despite the magnitude of the earthquake, the stress was distributed equally to prevent the collapse of the structure. The earthquake caused cracks in the building which were covered by a subsequent earthquake. This phenomenon was called Magic Healing by the local people.

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is made of bricks with eaves on each storey. The lintels have intricately carved figures of Arhats and grasses. Each floor has a wooden floor and a low roof with windows on the north and south. The interior of the pagoda has a tubular structure. A winding wooden staircase takes visitors to the top floor. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the last remaining monuments from Chang An, the name of the city of Xian during the reign of the Tang Dynasty.

Walking Tours in Xian, China

Create Your Own Walk in Xian

Create Your Own Walk in Xian

Creating your own self-guided walk in Xian is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cultural Tour of Xian

Cultural Tour of Xian

In ancient times, Xian was a center of art and culture. It played an important role in improving trade between east and west, due to the fact that it was the terminus of the Silk Road. Nowadays, Xian is filled with museums, galleries, opera houses, etc. Check out the most popular cultural spots in Xian on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.5 km
Places of Worship in Xian Tour

Places of Worship in Xian Tour

Xian looks like a melting pot of different cultures and religions in Asia. If you visit the places of worship in this city you will realize this. Here you can admire pagodas, temples (holy places for Buddhists) and mosques (place of worship for the followers of Islam). If you like exploring other religions you will enjoy taking this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.5 km
Parks and Squares Walk in Xian

Parks and Squares Walk in Xian

Xian is a historical city or as locals say a city of the past. Though it is considered to be rather small, it is perfectly formed. All the main sights are located in the center, surrounded by a circle of small squares with landmarks and beautiful lakes. Though they do not represent must-see spots, we think you will enjoy this walking tour through Xian's amazing gardens.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.5 km
Shopping Streets of Xian Walking Tour

Shopping Streets of Xian Walking Tour

Xian is an amazing city where you can do some quality shopping, especially if you crave for some authentic Chinese souvenirs. The ideal choice for you is to explore the streets of Xian, because that's where the souvenirs are cheaper. We invite you to take this walking tour and go for a stroll along the shopping areas of Xian.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Xian Suburbs Historical Tour

Xian Suburbs Historical Tour

While the city of Xian is famous for its pagodas, a tremendous city wall and gorgeous temples, several "treasures" are hidden on the outskirts of the city. Actually, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, located in the eastern suburb, is a historical must-see. Also, you will be impressed by the Lishan mountain's incredible beauty, admired many centuries ago by Chinese emperors. We...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 10.3 km
Xian City Orientation Tour

Xian City Orientation Tour

Xian is situated in the central-northwest part of China. It is one of the most ancient cities in the country and famous for being home to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Terracotta Army. Xian is 3100 years old and has a rich history, being the terminus of the Silk Road. Do not hesitate to take a walking tour and see the world-famous attractions of Xian.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.8 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Xian for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Xian has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Xian, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.