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Shaanxi: where legend and history meet

Shaanxi is part of Xibei (North-West of China region). Xi’an is the capital, which was the eastern end of the Silk Road and home to more than 11 million people in its district and city areas.
Xi’an is the site of the oldest capital of China, the ancient Chang’an. As such, it is the cradle of Chinese civilization, which developed in the area.

shaanxi map
Map of China’s provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions. Source: chokkicx / Getty Images

Actually, another two provinces were cradles of the ancient Chinese civilizations: the neighboring Henan and the almost homonym Shanxi.
As it has been the home of Chinese civilization for millennia, almost all its population is Han.

Shaanxi: mountains and deserts

The territory is desert or mountainous – the north hosts the Ordos desert, that spreads into inner Mongolia. Obviously, the weather changes a lot around the province.
Shaanxi's landscape often involves impressive mountains.
Shaanxi has less than 40 million inhabitants, making it an average sized province in China, and one of the least densely populated due to its bigger territory.

An economy based on industry and services

Shaanxi has a famous tradition in loaning business, but now it is also third in production for coal, natural gas and crude oil in China. Still, it’s the second and tertiary industries which are taking more than 80% of the business. The production value of these two is almost the same, being worth more than a trillion RMB per year each.
Commercial aviation is huge in Shaanxi, as it is alone producing more than half of the equipment and R&D of the field in China.
Shaanxi has specific Economic and Technological Development Zones in Xi’an including both industrial manufacturing and software development. With the cities of Chongqing and Chengdu it forms the Western Triangle. These three are the most developed cities of Western China. As such, they will lead the less developed provinces in the future.

Shaanxi: ancient and recent historical sites attract all kinds of tourism

Yan’an, in Shaanxi, was the place where Mao Zedong led the communist party during the Long March, in a strategic retreat from Kuomingtang forces. As such, some visit Shaanxi for its recent history as the place where the revolution (re)started in 1930s. Many others, though, visit the ancient sites where Chinese civilization started and developed for millennia.
The mausoleum of Huangdi (Yellow Emperor), a legendary ruler considered to be the ancestor of all Chinese, is an example. According to the legends, he was ruling China more than 4600 years ago.
Shaanxi's world heritage site: the terracotta warriors in the first Qin emperor's mausoleum
The terracotta army, a historical site of which we know much more (and relatively recent), attracts also lots of tourists. This incredible world heritage site includes, among others, more than 8000 life-size sculptures of soldiers that accompanied the first ruler of Qin dynasty in his mausoleum. The emperor was also the first historical emperor who united China. The site is so delicate that the tomb of the emperor has not even been opened yet. Many would like to see the entirety of the site, but archaeologists must first prepare a proper solution which will preserve the relics. Some of them already got damaged while being unearthed.

In general, Shaanxi is a economically very important province in Western China (as one of the three cities which make up the Western Triangle, Xi’an, is the capital).
Its historical importance, though, is second to none.
Tourism will probably develop further. More and more sites can still be discovered, and an investment in the field can be really interesting.


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  1. Pingback: Henan: the Chinese "bread basket" of 100 million people - SinoActive

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