Visiting Xian – a city with more than 3,100 years of history

April 17, 2012

We are taking a quick trip to Xian (in pictures that is). Xian was China’s ancient capital for more than a thousand years before being moved to Beijing.

After landing in Xian in 2008, (our third visit to the city since 1999) we found a great driver. He was honest and knowledgeable. Here’s the cell phone number he had at the time (136-0916-251). If you visit Xian, I recommend you book him for the entire stay. He also introduced us to some experiences we’d never had on previous trips.

The Famous Terra Cotta warriors were created to guard China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (221-204 B.C.). Qin Shi Huangdi made Xian China’s first capital until Kublai Khan moved the capital to Beijing where he ruled his Khanbalik Empire, from 1264 to 1267.

Xian was known as Chang’an before the Ming Dynasty and is one of the four great ancient capitals of China having held that distinction under several of the most important dynasties in China’s history. In fact, Xian was a cultural center more than a thousand years before Jesus Christ was born.


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.

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Note: This revised post first appeared February 19, 2010

History’s Meaning of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 3/5

October 15, 2010

In the eighth century AD, all roads in Asia led to Xian. It was the greatest city in the world. Rivaled only by Bagdad and Constantinople.

At this time, foreigners were allowed into China for the first time and they were kept in their own area away from the center of power.

In the western part of Xian in the foreign enclave, there was a great mix of cultures.

To the Chinese, the Tang Dynasty was the most golden of all ages for Chinese poetry.

For the Chinese, composing poetry is one of the central ideas of civilization.

A famous Silk Road poet talked about in the video said that the people of China could face any test as long as their leaders treated them humanely.

The Tang Dynasty ended in chaos and anarchy like so many in China’s history but was followed by an even greater Dynasty.

Four hundred miles from Xian lay Kaifeng. In the 11th century AD, this city was the capital of what is considered the peak of Chinese civilization, the Song Dynasty.

During the Song Dynasty, the invention of printing and inward development changed China. This would guide Asia for another thousand years.

In Kaifeng, as everywhere in China, several decades of Communist rule have not cut the ancient beliefs.

Reverence for ancestors, filial piety, and Confucian virtues are all coming back into the open now that freedom of worship (of the old ways) is guaranteed.

Like its medicine, Chinese cooking is based on harmony and balance – the old themes of Chinese culture. In fact, the oldest restaurant in the world first opened in 1153 AD and is still open for business in Kaifeng.

Return to History of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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