Shaanxi Tourism Renowned Worldwide for its History and Culture

2017-05-11 09:18:34 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Night of Xi’an

The Great Wild Goose Pagoda

Live performance: the Song of Eternal Sorrow

Shaanxi Province has been honored as a historical and cultural base of Chinese civilization by the State Council. In history, 14 kingdoms and feudal dynasties established their capitals in this Province, with major ones including the Zhou (1100-221BC), the Qin (221-206 BC), the Han (206 BC-220 AD), and the Tang (618-907). Shaanxi also ranks first with regard to the number as well the grade of cultural relics.

Shaanxi Province boasts a variety of tourism resources with its world-renowned historical sites and cultural relics. So the tourism industry in Shaanxi has a natural bond with cultural relics.

The core competitiveness in cultural relics and tourism, which largely relied on the perseverance and endeavor of diligent Shaanxi people rather than endowments, has made Shaanxi Province one of the major tourist destinations in China with worldwide fame.

In recent years, headed by Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee and Government, a series of measures in light of local conditions have been adopted in Shaanxi to integrate relics protection, cultural inheritance and people’s livelihood. Shaanxi has taken the lead in China and made impressive achievements in archaeological discovery, technology protection and foreign exchange and cooperation in cultural relics.

With clear development strategies and objectives, scientific planning and elaborate layout, Shaanxi tourism is expected to usher in the golden period of development. The brand image of “Humanistic Shaanxi Province & Breathtaking Qinling Mountain” has been greatly promoted. It is learned from 2017 Shaanxi Tourism Work Conference that, in 2016, the tourism industry went through successful transformation and took the lead in Shaanxi economic development. Visitors to Shaanxi Province from both home and abroad reached 449 million person-times with increase rate of 16.45% over the last year; total tourism revenue amounted to RMB 381.343 billion yuan, with increase rate of 26.87%, taking Shaanxi into ranks of provinces with competitive tourism resources.

1. Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses

On Christmas Eve 2016, a Shaanxi tourism video themed “Humanistic Shaanxi Province & Breathtaking Qinling Mountain” was screened at New York Times Square. Cultural and natural resources with Shaanxi features including Sima Qian's Temple, Zhaojin in Tongchuan City, Huashan Mountain and Taibai Mountain in the video resonated with many passers-by and many overseas Chinese gave the thumbs-up to Shaanxi Province.

Speaking of Shaanxi's most famous tourist attraction, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum ranks first, which well explains the saying that Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a must for touring Shaanxi. Discovered in 1974, it enjoys the fame as “the Eighth Wonder of the World” and “One of the Greatest Discoveries of the 20th Century in the History of Archeology”. Covering an area of 20 thousand square meters, the three pits house life-size terracotta warriors and horses of more than 7000 pieces. The terracotta warriors and horses were not only big in size, but also exquisite in craftsmanship. After careful and detailed engraving by the Qin workmen, the terra-cotta warriors look vivid, different in appearance and expressions. Thousands of bronze weapons were unearthed from the pits, including swords, spears, dagger-axes, halberds, arrows and so on. They were exquisitely made and enjoyed a high level of casting technology.

In 1980, two sets of large painted bronze chariots and horses were unearthed to the west of Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum. The bronze chariots were drawn by four horses, with one charioteer standing at the front on each chariot. The chariots and horses were exact imitations of actual chariot and horse in half-life size and were fitted with silver and gold ornaments, looking luxurious, splendid and graceful. The chariots were honored as the most exquisite bronze valuables.

Built on the site of pit with terracotta warriors and horses, the Museum of Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses was officially open to the public in 1979. Now, the exhibition hall of Pit 1, Pit 2, Pit 3 and other halls for chariots and horses are open. Until now, visitors both from home and abroad reached 70 million person-times, including 200 government leaders and heads of state. Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses were exhibited in more than 80 areas and regions in 40 countries with overseas audience exceeding 20 million person-times.

China’s National Day holiday last year witnessed completion of north gate and square project of the Museum. The project covers an area of 73909 m2 with construction area of 4934 m2. The gate of the Museum not only serves as an entrance, but also a window for visitors from all over the world. The successful completion of the project has become a good beginning for the overall upgrading of the scenic area.

2. The dance drama-Song of Eternal Sorrow restores the historical glory

“The soul of tourism lies in culture!”

Huaqing Pool is only 20 minutes’ drive eastward from Xi’an via Xi-Tong Expressway. Located at the foot of Lishan Mountain, the Huaqing Pool is famous for warm mineral water. Historically, upon the orders given by emperors, palaces were built around here in the Zhou, the Qin, the Han, the Sui and the Tang Dynasty. The historical site of the famous Xi’an Incident is also situated to the east of Huaqing Pool.

The famous poet Bai Juyi composed a well-read poem Song of Eternal Sorrow to depict the moving love story of Emperor Tang Ming Huang and Yang Guifei happened in Huaqing Pool at the foot of Lishan Mountain. Produced by Shaanxi Tourism Group, the Song of Eternal Sorrow, the first large-scale historical dance drama in China with real landscape as its setting, reappeared the story on stage where the original plot took place. Feng Shuangbai, the famous dance historian and Party Secretary of Chinese Dancers Association, marveled at the dance drama and said, “the performance has restored the historical glory of Huaqing Pool and Lishan Mountain!”

The Song of Eternal Sorrow, which performed at Huaqing Pool, a royal garden with a history of 3000 years and a historical site witnessed the love story of Tang Ming Huang and Yang Guifei, has successfully bridged historical site and tourists. Culture element has become the decisive factor in tourism product and market development. Zhang Xiaoke, General Director of Song of Eternal Sorrow commented that culture is full of vital power.

The perfect integration of historical culture and modern culture by making use of culture resources and relics will lead the future tourism development. The Song of Eternal Sorrow is considered by experts a successful combination of tourism product and cultural creativity. Scholars presented at cultural creativity forum also spoke highly of the Song of Eternal Sorrow and considered it as a new development model for tourism and cultural industry.

Touring the Huaqing Pool in the daytime and enjoying the Song of Eternal Sorrow at night have become a new highlight for visitors to Xi’an.

The best way to preserve static historical sites such as the Imperial Pools and the Five-room Hall is to make them alive by revealing the splendid culture and charming stories behind them.

3. Seven sites listed as World Cultural Heritage

In recent years, Shaanxi Province has attached great importance to great site preservation and management. A coordinated development mode integrating great site preservation, national economy and social development has been formed. Great site preservation has been considered as a new cultural project concerning people’s livelihood, and the practical measures adopted in Shaanxi have been popularized nationwide by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Since the “11th Five-Year”, in order to tackle difficulties in great site and earthen heritage site preservation, relevant departments of cultural heritage in Shaanxi have put forward the new concept of “Four Combinations” (combine great site preservation with local economic and social development, the improving of local people’s living standard, urban and rural capital construction and environmental improvement) and established several practical models for great site preservation of different kinds, which gained a win-win situation and received wide approval from experts and scholars, government department and local people. In 2010, the concept of “Four Combinations” yielded remarkable achievement and three great sites including Daming Palace National Heritage Park were listed as the first batch of National Archaeological Site Park.

At the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar on June 22, 2014, the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor jointly proposed by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan was officially listed on World Heritage List. It is a serial nomination of 33 sites spreading out over the three countries and the largest international cultural heritage project so far. The number of World Heritage Sites in Shaanxi has increased from 1 (Emperor Qinshihuang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses) to 8, including new nomination of 7 sites in Shaanxi, namely the Site of Weiyang Palace in Chang'an City of Western Han Dynasty, Daming Palace National Heritage Park, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xingjiao Temple Pagoda, Zhang Qian’s Tomb, and the Dafosi (Great Buddha Temple) Grotto. Through preparatory work for world cultural heritage application, not only the concept and level of cultural relics protection in Shaanxi haven been promoted, but also the infrastructure construction and typical cultural relics construction have been accelerated. The local people have also benefited a lot in terms of improvement in living standard and livelihood.

The successful entry of the Silk Roads Corridor into the World Heritage List will vitalize the ancient Silk Road and will be of great significance to the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, harmonious world relationship and common prosperity.

The Director of Shaanxi Administration of Cultural Heritage said that, after the successful entry into the World Heritage List, we shall get ready to take on new responsibilities. How to better preserve and make full use of the cultural relics to increase cultural connotation of our city still merit our endeavor. Further efforts will be made in regional tourism development where cultural relics locate to promote people’s living standard and overall social and economic development. A solid cultural foundation will be laid for Shaanxi Province to take the lead in the Silk Road Economic Belt.

4. Shimao Site-new achievement in heritage protection

Shaanxi is abundant in cultural relics and many of the archaeological excavations have made a sensation throughout the world.

Dated back to 4200 years ago, the Shimao Site is an extra-large stone building site in the late Neolithic Age to Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC), providing new research materials for formation of Chinese Civilization in terms of pluralism and development process. It has been listed as “National Top 10 New Archaeological Discoveries of Year 2012” and “Greatest Archaeological Discoveries of the World of the Year 2013” and the major project among the Project of Tracing the Source of Chinese Civilization. Shimao Site is one of the successful examples among protection work of cultural relics in Shaanxi Province.

At present, scientific research and protection bases in terms of brick and stone heritage, painted pottery relics and cultural relics protection at archaeological excavation site have been established in Shaanxi by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China. International cooperation with more than 10 countries and regions such as Germany and Italy has been carried out and 183 projects have been completed, among which 20 projects gained national patent or provincial level award. Substantial achievements have been made in Qin color-painted terra-cotta figures protection, earthen heritage site preservation, silk, paper and metal relics protection, especially the work at Shaanxi History Museum and Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum has attracted worldwide attention.

5. Great and clear vision for sustainable tourism

In recent years, Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee and Government have attached great importance to tourism industry and provided sufficient support through the adoption of series of industrial policies.

Encouraged by favorable policies, tourism project construction and tourism product structure adjustment have been pushed on energetically. While developing historical and cultural scenic spots, Shaanxi also gives equal importance to ecotourism development with Qinling Mountain landscape as major resources. The launch of ecotourism not only enriched the charm and category of Shaanxi tourism, but also signified our endeavor toward sustainable tourism.

At present, a sustainable tourism layout composed of Central Shaanxi historical and cultural tourism, ecological and leisure tour in southern Shaanxi and red tourism in northern Shaanxi has been established.

Through years’ endeavor, tourism industry is becoming the pillar industry in promoting economic development in Shaanxi. The tourism industry in Shaanxi Province will embrace a more promising future!