Industrial city and capital of Shaanxi province, China, on the Wei He River; population (2010) 6,501,200. It produces chemicals, including fertilizers and plastics, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, aircraft, and textiles.
History The city was the capital of China under the Zhou dynasty (1066–256 BC) and the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC). As capital of the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 8), it was called Chang'an (Everlasting Peace); and as capital of the the Tang dynasty (618–906) it was known as Siking (Western Capital). The Manchus named the city Xi'an. The city had several short-lived official changes of name in the 20th century until it reverted to Xi'an from 1943. The imperial court retired here after the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.
Location Xi'an is situated on China's principal east–west transport routes, on the right bank of the Wei He River, 125 km/78 mi above its confluence with the Huang He.
Features Its treasures include the 600 year-old Ming wall; rich archaeological finds, including the terracotta army: pottery soldiers buried to protect the tomb of the first Qin emperor, Shi Huangdi; Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in China; the Great Mosque, built in 742; the 8th-century Forest of Steles; and the neolithic village of Ban Po, dating to around 6000 BC.
Economy After 1950, industry was greatly developed in accordance with the communist government's policy of industrial dispersal. Whole enterprises were moved to the city from Shanghai, including textile mills, a sewing-machine factory, and a watchmaking business. Defence industries were also developed in Xi'an, many of which, including the aircraft factory, turned to civilian products. Xi'an is also a centre for precision engineering and the manufacture of machinery and electrical equipment. Tourism, based on the numerous nearby archaeological remains, is of growing importance to the local economy.