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Xi’an, formerly known as Chang an, finds his origin 3100 years back, at the Yellow River. During these years Chang an has been the capital of China for a period of 13 dynasties, such as:

  • Western Chou-dynasty (1100BC.. – 771BC.)
  • Qin-dynasty (221 BC. - 206BC.)
  • Western Han-dynasty (206 BC. - 24AD.)
  • Tang-dynasty (618AD. - 907AD.)

During these periods Chang an was one of the most developed cities of the World.

Between the 11th and the 8th centuries BC. the capital of the Chou-dynasty was Hao. It was located in the north of China, a few kilometers west of today’s Xi'an. Although the Chou-dynasty moved to Luoyang in 771 BC., Hao remained one of the largest cities in northern China. During the 4th century BC. it became the capital of the Qin-dynasty. This didn’t change after Qin Shi Huangdi had united all Chinese states one century later, however he changed the city name into Xianyang.

In the 3rd century BC., Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was determined to have a capital that had to be at least equal to his power and gave order to a million people to extend the city with boulevard and palaces. The city developed very fast and had in no time almost one million habitants. The success of the city didn’t keep unnoticed. Therefore two centuries later, rebels captured the city and overthrew the dynasty.

The Han-dynasty became the successors of the Qin-dynasty. They built their new capital of Chang an at the north of today’s Xi’an. The new city was completed by the 1st century BC.. The city walls contained 8 main streets and loads of alleys, also outside the city walls there were large suburbs. In this period the trading between west-Asia and the Roman Empire found his start.

In 25 years AD.., the government moved the seat from Chang an to the more eastern Luoyang, which meant the decline of importance of the city Chang an. Chang an declined in importance, until the first Sui-dynasty emperor Wen-ti. He decided to built a new city of Chang an in the south-east of the city which was built by the Han-dynasty. Although the successor of Wen-ti moved back with his government to Luoyang, the Tang-dynasty returned the capital to Chang an and completed the city, which was designed by emperor Sui.

During the Tang-dynasty Chang an its importance as a city increased more and more. For two centuries the city was the center of cultural and political renaissance. This period is considered to be the golden ages of ancient China. This made Chang an automatically one of the most important cities of the ancient world.



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