SCHEDULED TOUR
ROUTE I. XI'AN—XIANYANG AIR-
PORT NEW WORLD GRAND HOTEL
Let me give you inttroduction about this city Now,
This is Xi'an—Xianyang Airport. It was completed and put in-to use in 1991. It is the largest modern civil airport in the northwest and also one of the important hubs of air communications in China. It has established nearly 50 domestic scheduled flight lines and opened up air lines to Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries and areas. The airport is about 50 kilometres apart from the urban district of Xi'an.
Xi'an lies at longitude 108 E by latitude 34 N, and 412 metres above sea level. It has an average annual temperature of 13 C, and an average annual precipitation of 604 mm. The rainy season comes in July, August and September. Xi'an City has jurisdiction over eight districts (Xincheng, Lianhu, Beilin, Baqiao, Weiyang, Yan-ta, Yanliang and Lintong) and five counties (Chang'an, Lantian, Gaoling, Zhouzhi and Huxian). As a whole, Xl'an covers an area of 9,983 square kilometers and has a population of 5,860,000. But the city proper occupies an area of 861 square kilometers', and reaches a population of 2,650,000.
Please turn round to this side. This palace used to be the site of Xianyang city. More than 2,000 years back, Xianyang was the capital of the Qin Dynasty, the first centralized, autocratic feudel empire of Emperor Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of the Qin Dy-nasty. Otherwise, it was the capital of the very emperor who creat-ed two miracles the Great Wall and the 8,000 pottery warriors and horses. The word "China" is an English transliteration of the Chinese character "~اط~" (chin). Xianyang, the capital of the Qin Dynasty, was ruined by war towards the end of the third century B. C.. But through archaeological excavations, scientists have dis-covered the site of the imperial palace and a large number of precious relics. These relics are put on display at the Shaanxi History Muse-um and the Xianyang Museum respectively.
Xi'an was called Chang'an in the Han Dynasty. The connota-tion of "Chang'an" is "a place of permanent peace". It was not until the prosperous Tang Dynasty that Chang'an became famous both at home and abroad as the largest and busiest international metropolis of that age in the world. Xi'an obtained its present name in 1369. It stands first on the list of China's six largest ancient capitals. From the 11 century B.C. onwards, Xi'an or its vicinity was estab-lished as the capital city by 11 dynasties successively, including the Western Zhou, the Qin, the Sui and the Tang. And it also served as the capital of two peasant regimes respectively under the rule of Huang Chao and Li Zicheng. The city's capital status lasted for 1,068 years. As regards the number of dynasties and span of time, Xl'an served as an ancient capital beyond compare. Xl'an was the starting point of the world—famous Silk Road. It can' be well likened to history museum. Moving around this old city is like going through thousands of years back in time. In this vast museum, you will see the Banpo Village Remains of a matriar-chal community~ the Huaqing Pool which was noted as early as the Zhou Dynasty more than 3,000 years 6ack~ Qin Shihuang's Terra -- cotta Warriors and Horses, known as the eighth wonder of the world~ the imperial cemetery grounds of the Han and Tang dynas-ties; the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Small Wild Goose pagoda built in the Tang Dynasty; the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower of the Ming Dynasty; and the Forest of Steles with a rich collection of age-old stone tablets.
Xl'an is the capital of Shaanxi Province and also the political, economic and cultural centre of the Northwest. With the develop-ment of travel industry and the implementation of the open policy, it has become one of the nation's key tourist cities. This stretch of land is known as Xianyang Tableland. It is vast, level and high above surrounding areas. In fact, it is a type of loess plateau formed under the alluvial force of the Weihe River and its tributaries which flow through Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. This type of terrain has been called tableland from time immemori-al. Xianyang Tableland is the best-known of all north of the Weihe River.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

In the second century B. C. , Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Western Han Dyndasty chose this table-land as the site of the imperial cemetery. Nine out of the eleven emperors of the Western Han Dynasty were buried here, together with hundereds of imperial kinsmen, ministers and generals. So Xianyang Tableland marks a large underground treasure house of historical relics. The earth mound by the roadside is Yangling Mausoleum where Emperor Jingdi, the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dy-nasty was buried. Mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty, with-out exception, were piled up with earth. They generally take the shape of a frustum. About 450 metres northeast of Yangling Mau-soleum is the tomb of Emperor Jingdi's consort. According to the imperial burial system of the Western Han Dynasty, the queen, though honored as the First Mother, was not entitled to share a tomb with her emperor husband after her death. So they were buried in separate tombs.
This is the Weihe River, the longest tributary of the Yellow River. It takes its source from Weiyuan County, Gansu Province, cuts through the Central Shaanxi Plain and then pours into the Yel-low River at Feng Ling -du in Tongguan County. The Weihe Riv-er, more or less, played a considerable role in establishing Xi'an as the capital of many powerful dynasties in the Chinese history. First of all, Xi'an is situated in the middle portion of the Central Shaanxi Plain. The plain is intersected by the Yellow River on the east and it is surrounded by hills and mountains on three other sides. All these provided a natural defence for Xi'an and made the city strate-gically important. Second, the Weihe River and many of its tribu-taries flowed in the vicinity of Xi'an and made the city strategically imporatnt, therefore, it was known as "a city of eight rivers". Ground surface water was a chief source of drinking water in an-cient times. In the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an city had a total popu-lation of more than one million. The abundant water source made it possible for the entire populace to live a regular life. Third, the Central Shaanxi Plain, also known as the Weihe River Plain was formed under the alluvial force of the Weihe River and its main trib-utaries. It was known as the "Eight—Hundred Mile Grain Basin" for its rich soil and material resources. Food supply was sufficient for the whole population of Chang'an city. Last but not the least, the Weihe River served as an important navigation course. In the Han and Tang dynasties, material goods were transported from the south, then up the Yellow River and Weihe River, and finally to Chang'an City. So the city was accessible to water transport facili-ties.
'Bridges were built over the Weihe River through the ages. This is Caotan Bridge. It was built in 1986, with a total length of 1,236 meters.
This place is called Zhang Jia-bao. Look west out of the win-dow, you'll see the site of Chang'an City of the Western Han Dy-nasty. The site is located five kilometres northwest of present-day Xi'an. In the year 200 B. C. , Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Western Han Dynasty established this area as the capital, and adopted the name of Chang'an. The capital city was vast in scale and uniform in layout. It took five years to complete the urban con-struction. The city ~vas 25.7 kilometres around and 36 square kilo-metres in area. It was about three times the size of Rome. There were 12 gateways to the urban area. The Palace Quarter was locat-ed in the southern part of the city while the Residential Quarter, the Handicarft Industry Quarter and the markets concentrated in the northern part. In fact, the Palace Quarter was almost one half the size of the whole city. At present, the foundation works of those palaces and the city wall are still discernible. Accordingly, the layout of the Han-dynasty Chang'an City can be roughly identified. Across the Weihe River, weare getting into the Weiyang Dis-trict under the jurisdiction of Xl'an City. In this area, there are many historical sites related to Xianyang City, the capital of the Qin Dynasty, Chang'an City of the Western Han Dynasty. and the Daming Palace of the Tang Dynasty, They are placed on the state's list of important historical relics. The site of the Tang-dynasty Darning Palace is located about one kilometre east of the Weiyang District People's Government. Darning Palace was the most magnif-icent of the three palaces in the Tang Dynasty. It maintained its po-sition as the political centre of the Tang Dynasty for more than 200 years ever since the reign of Emperor Gao Zong, the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty. Within the limits of the palace, there were more than 100 structures. The palace was five times the building area of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City ) in the Ming Dynasty. But unfortunately Daming Palace was later brought to ruins by a chaotic war.
Now, we are approaching the urban area of Xi'an City. Ahead of us is the city Wall built in the Ming Dynasty more than 600 years back. The wall is 12 metres in height. Its top surface is from 12 to 14 metres in width, and its foundatiom base is from 15 to 18 metres in depth. There are four gateways to the urban area. This is the North Gate. From the North Gate to the Bell Tower is the North Street. These two structures were both built in the Ming Dynasty. This is Lianhu Road. More than 1,000 years back in the Tang Dynasty, emperors used to live in the Taiji Palace around this area. The road is lined with the French plane tree. It shows a marked growth, and with its broad leaves layer upon layer, it gives deep shade. Besides, its trunk is bright and clean, for these reasons, it is planted along the roadside in many Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Nanjing. We Chinese commonly call the tree the French plane just because it was first planted in the Shanghai—based concession under French rule in the 19th century.
South of the road is the Lotus Lake Park. It is on the site of the Chengtian Gate to the Imperial City of the Tang Dynasty. In the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Shuang, the second son of Emperor Zhu Yuan-zhang diverted water from the Tongji Canal into this low— lying land and began to grow lotus flowers on an extensive scale. The lowland, hence, got the name lotus flowers on an extensive scale. The lowland, hence, got the name Lotus Flower Pool. The Lotus Lake Park began to take shape in 1992. Not far ahead of us is the New World Grand Hotel where you will stay. It's a four-star joint venture hotel. In addition to the fa-cilities available in other modern hotels, your hotel also has a 1,200-seat theatre for its guests to watch rich and varied entertainment programmes.
Here we are at the hotel. Please go into the lobby after you get off, and wait for just a few minutes. I'll go through the check-in procedures for you.