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This article is related to a city, for the airport located in the city, see Xi'an Xianyang International Airportmarker

Xianyang ( ; Sienyang; Hsienyang) is a city in Shaanximarker province, near Xi'anmarker. The city site was located a few kilometers to the northwest of present-day Xi'an. It has an area of 10,213 square kilometers and a population of 4,800,000.


It was the capital of the state of Qin during the Warring States Period and became the capital of China during the short-lived Qin Dynasty. The king, Qin Xiao Gong built the city of Xianyang in 350 BC, which was the capital for over 140 years. It was located in the modern day Shaanxi province on the northern bank of the Wei Rivermarker, on the opposite side of which Liu Bang would later build the Han Dynasty capital of Chang'anmarker once he became emperor.

In 221 BC Qin Shi Huang eliminated all six other vassal states to establish the first centralized empire in Chinese history. Xianyang became the centre of politics, economy and culture of the Qin empire. The Emperor had a lavish mausoleum built near the capital, complete with his Terracotta Armymarker. This and other large undertakings required enormous levies of manpower and resources, not to mention repressive measures, which eventually led to the fall of the Qin Dynasty and with it the original city of Xianyang.

Shortly after the First Emperor's death in 210 BC revolts erupted. At the beginning of December 207 BC, then King of Qin Ziying surrendered to rebel leader Liu Bang. Liu Bang went on to capture Xianyang, but was forced to hand it over to another rebel leader, Xiang Yu, whose army greatly outnumbered Liu Bang's. Xiang Yu then killed Ziying and burned Xianyang in 206 BC, thereby forever robbing humanity of some unique copies of many "forbidden books" in the royal library.

Legend has it that the palace in Xianyang was so big it burned for a whole month.

In 202 BC, after defeating Xiang Yu, Liu Bang built a new city near the old Xianyang and named this new capital Chang'anmarker.

From the end of 1950s till the middle of 1990s archaeologists discovered and excavated a large numbers of Qin era sites in Xianyang, including palaces, workshops and tombs.

Administrative divisions



  1. Cotterell. Page 29.

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