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 Living in Xi'an
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Xi’an, also been called as Chang’an in ancient times, is a world-famous ancient capital city, one of the birthplaces of the Chinese nation, and an ancient city of 3,000 years old history. Starting from the 9th century B.C., 12 dynasties established their capital successively in Xi’an during the period of over 1000 years, and the ancient capital of Xi’an is at the top of the seven ancient capitals in China. As far back as the Western Han Dynasty of more than two thousand years ago, Xi’an was the starting point of the famous “Silk Road” which extended all the way to Rome and was the first city which opened its gate to the world in Chinese history.
The present Xi’an is a developing city with modern industrial foundation and tour facilities. After more than forty years construction, a complete industrial production system has been established in Xi’an. Xi’an is also the major bases of aerospace, electric and machinery manufacturing, textile, and electronic industries and has rather solid strength of modern science and technology. The foundational education and the comprehensive scientific and technological strength of Xi’an are among the best of the large cities in the country. The Xi’an municipal government set up a 20.35 square-km state high tech development region, which is the largest economic and cultural center in Northwest of China.
 Xi’an has already had direct trade relation with more than one hundred countries and districts, and has over 180 foreign funded enterprises. Xi’an airport is one of the four largest airports in China with 58 air lines to more than fifty large and medium-sized cities in China and to Hong Kong and Japan. Since reform and opening to the outside world, Xi’an has opened its gate and has become an important inland open city. The investment environment of Xi’an is improving increasingly. The vast amount of relics and historic sites and the fine natural landscape made Xi’an a well-known tourist hot spot in the world.
Climate in Xi'an   
Xian is situated in the southern part of the Guan Zhong Plain in Shaanxi province, with the Qinling Mountains to the south and the Weihe River to the north. It is in a warm temperate zone, and has a continental monsoon climate with four distinct seasons; Xian is hot and wet in summer, dry and seldom snowy in winter and is prone to extended spells of rain in spring and autumn.
History of Xi'an
Xi'an is has a very important part in Chinese history. It served as the imperial capital for 12 ancient imperial dynasties from 1,000 BC to 1,000 AD. Xian’s history began in the Stone Age, 3, 000 years ago when the Western Zhou Dynasty founded its capital at Haojing, today’s Xi'an. Western Zhou Dynasty was famous for its bronze, some of which is now displayed in Shaanxi Provincial Museum.
Barbarian invader caused the collapsed of the Western Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC. The Eastern Zhou Dynasty began and made its capital at Luoyang. In 221BC, emperor Qinshihuang unified the country and built a strong feudal society, with its capital at Xiangyang, north of Xi'an. The Qin was soon sacked and Han took the power. The Han rulers followed Qin and also based their rule in Xi'an. The Han ruled in Xi'an from 206 BC to 220 AD, when the city began to flourish. Xi'an was served as the starting point of the world famous Silk Road, a significant trade route linking ancient China and the central Asian and European countries. But it wasn't’t until the Tang Dynasty that Chang’an (today’s Xi'an) came into its own. Chang’an was one of the biggest international cities at that time, a great metropolis of the equal importance with Great Rome. The Tang Dynasty witnessed advances in many fields and the capital city boomed. It was built with grand, symmetrical layouts and became a model for city design at that time. After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, Xi'an went into a decline and its tenure as capital of China came to an end.
Although Xi'an still played an important role as a commercial center on the Silk Road in the later dynasties, it never regained its political or cultural importance.
Food in Xi'an
People visiting Xi'an must be surprised by the numerous historical sites and interesting places, as well as being left with a deep impression of the food of the city.
Food in Xi'an, generally speaking, is served in large portions, is inexpensive and each dish has its own story.
On a downtown street, everywhere one can see signs, including "Old Sun Family's Paomo (steamed bun soaking in mutton soup), "Old Ma Family's Mutton" and "Old Liu Family's Hulutou (a local snack)". At the food street, food stands one after another stretch several hundred meters. At night, temporary food stands fully line both sides of the street. Everywhere, there is a smell of delicious snacks.
On the street, small restaurants and temporary food stands serve very cheap snacks. A bowl of hulutou costs only three yuan. Many temporary stands sell Chengdu's hot specialty, 20 cents per cube. With so many rich snacks, a lot of local people do not prepare meals at home and are willing to eat at food stands.
There are three most famous restaurants--high-class Xi'an, average and lower-class Tongshengxiang and Defachang--among the city's restaurants. A variety of snacks in Xi'an have three restaurants gather many together.
In the front hall of the Xi'an Restaurant, a board is carved with the story of the restaurant. When the attendant serves you a dish, she will tell you briefly a vivid story. For instance, she will tell you that this is a dish of chicken that Empress Dowager Ci Xi liked best, and the other is a dish of fish Chinese singer Wei Wei liked. Almost every dish has its own allusion.
After being rebuilt, old Tongshengxiang and Defachang restaurants stand highly at the most flourishing Zhonggu (bell and drum) Street. One meal costs more than ten yuan. In addition, there are feasts costing several hundreds or even thousands of yuan.
Tongshengxiang is known for its Niuyangroupaomo (steamed bun soaking in beef or mutton soup). It has become very popular as a dish for entertaining foreign state leaders. In 1983, the dish was moved from the restaurant to the national banquet, and in 1993, Chinese traditional painting master Huang Zhou wrote an inscription mainly describing its appetizing taste. Because of this the dish becomes more and more famous. If you come here to taste it first, you do not eat too much because it is very filling.
Defachang has many special dishes, but the dearest is jiaoze made of Shark's fin. Another kind of jiaoze as big as a small fingertip filled with chicken meat. It is called a pearl jiaoze and is boiled in a hotpot of chrysanthemum soup. About this, there is a vivid story that when Empress Dowager Ci Xi came to the city she asked her cook to provide her with a new taste, and the cook prepared this kind of jiaoze to please her. It was well received. She ate three, six or nine in number, which is regarded in China as meaning good luck. Today, the words are different, for having one jiaoze, means to go off smoothly, and two jiaoze for double happiness coming at the same time. When having jiaoze, you can listen to the story and receive a beautiful blessing.
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