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Shaanxi Province China

Provincial capital: Xi'an

Population: 39 millions

Geological location: An inland province along the middle reaches of the Yellow River and a gateway to northwest China, Shaanxi links the west with the east and connects the north with the south. The Eurasia Continental Bridge, an international economic link starting from Lianyungang in the east and ending in Rotterdam, Netherlands, traverses through the province. It borders Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Gansu, covering an area of 205,600 sq km.

Map of Shaanxi Province

Climate: Shaanxi has a continental monsoonal climate, with great difference between the areas north and south of the Qinling range. It has a mean annual temperature of 6°-16°, increasing from north to south, and a mean annual precipitation less in the north than in the south: 340-600 mm in northern Shaanxi, 570-700 mm in the Guanzhong Plain and 800-1,210 mm in southern Shaanxi.

Tourism resources: Dispersed in Shaanxi are 72 imperial mausoleums, witness to the ancient economy and culture. The province is best known for ten scenic spots including the Mausoleum of Huang Di, the Qin terra-cotta warriors and horses, the Xi'an Forest of Stone Tablets, the Shaanxi Museum of History, and the city gate and wall of Xi'an. The Qin terra-cotta warriors and horses are often called the Eighth Wonder of the World and have been included by UNESCO in the list of World Cultural Heritages.

Although this province was once the epicenter of culture and travel, and the start of China's most famous "road", the Silk Road, nowadays the area is, outside of Xi'an, little visited for tourism. Thankfully the transport situation here is in a fairly good condition, partly due to the Terracotta Warriors, and partly due to the fact that this used to be a communist Mecca for those heading to Yan'an.

By Air: There are airports in three of our listed sights: Xi'an, Yan'an and Yulin Town. Unless time is of the essence, flying to Xi'an is really the only one worthwhile, the other two destinations have infrequent flights and variable schedules. The Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is located about 40km from town and has daily direct flights to and from most major domestic cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Guilin and Chengdu.

By Train: The Lianyungang--Lanzhou Railway Line runs all the way from the eastern coast to the western inland area, linking almost all the important cities and towns in the province: Huashan, Lintong, Xi'an, Xianyang and Baoji. It is also possible to head north from Xi'an to Yan'an, a comfortable route that takes you past some of the provinces most attractive scenery. Recent years have witnessed the completion of the Xi'an--Ankang Railway Line that has cut down considerably the distance (500km) and time between Xi'an and Chongqing. A good way to reach this distant city and start your Three Gorges Tour.

By Bus: Xi'an is proud of its claim of having the greatest number of State-level expressways (altogether nine). Although a train will be more comfortable and you will see the scenery more easily, there are far more bus services which could make it more convenient. Buses to and from all of the main destinations in the province including Xi'an, Huashan, Yan'an, and Yulin Town. There are also a number of services out of the province (although a train would normally be easier for this).