Xi'an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China because it has been the capital (under various names) of some of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties. Xi'an, or Chang'an as it was called for many centuries, has been a built-up urban area for over 3,000 years, and served as the national capital of feudal China for 1,100 years.
As an important birthplace of Chinese civilization and a cradle of the civilization of the world, Xi¡¯an is the eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road and is now a hub for the Belt and Road Initiative. More than 2,000 years ago, diplomat Zhang Qian of the Han Dynasty set out from here to explore the route that had promoted communication between China and the rest of the world for centuries.
It reached its prime during the Han (206 BC-AD 220) and Tang (618 - 907) dynasties, when its influences extended far and wide, primarily because of the opening of the ancient Silk Road. Through this route of trade and cultural exchange, the Han and Tang empires imported and embraced the salutary elements of other civilizations, incorporating them into the Chinese cultural system. This resulted in the inclusiveness, openness and diversity that defined these two periods of Chinese history, and created Xi'an's rich and diverse culture of historical heritage and cuisine.
Known as the leading city of China's Western Development Drive Program since 1990s, Xi'an is an important economic, cultural, industrial and educational center of the central-northwest region, providing visitors with modern and convenient facilities.