From the Qin to the Tang Dynasty, 62 emperors ruled China from Chang’ an (Xi’an). The China Daily says in and around Xi’an, there are about 500 burial mounds where the remains of emperors and aristocrats rest.
The largest tombs mark the passing of Emperors Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), Tang Gaozong (628 – 683 AD), and his wife Empress Tang Wu Zetian (624 – 705 AD).
When we left Neville Gishford‘s documentary, China’s Most Honourable City, in Part 2, Chang’ an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) with a population of over a million — six times the size of ancient Rome.
The Daming Palace, where the Tang Emperors ruled China, was 800 years older and nearly five times larger than Beijing’s Forbidden City. This huge palace was built in one year.
However, it wasn’t the Daming Palace that made Chang’ an (Xi’an) powerful. Long before Manhattan, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai, Chang’ an was where the world came to shop.
Over a thousand years ago, the wealth of the West poured into China (and it is happening again) and arrived at Chang’ an over the Silk Road.
But wealth wasn’t the only thing China gained. Major religions also arrived in China at this time.
Islam was barely a century old, when Silk Road traders brought this religion to Chang’ an. In another post, A Road to the Hajj from China, I wrote, “The ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.”
Xi’an claims it has a Muslim history going back thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD.
In fact, the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Chang’ an during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.
Continued on October 20, 2011, in Xi’an (Chang’ an) – China’s Ancient Capital – Part 4 or return to Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
To subscribe to “iLook China”, sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top right-hand side of this page and then follow directions.