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Site of Chang'an City of Han Dynasty

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Site of Chang'an City of Han Dynasty

History of Chang'an City of Han Dynasty
Located at 5 km northwest of modern Xi'an, the site of Chang'an City was the capital of the Western Han Dynasty, it was the political, economic and cultural center of ancient China. The Site of Chang'an City of Han Dynasty is also the start of the Silk Road, and a cosmopolitan metropolis comparable with the greatest cities of the contemporaneous Roman Empire. It was a consumer city, a city whose existence was not primarily predicated upon manufacturing and trade, but rather boasted such a large population because of its role as the political capital of China.

The construction of the Site of Chang'an city of Han Dynasty can be divided into 3 periods over more than 90 years. Liu Bang, the emperor of Han, was decided to build the palaces before the city walls. In 202 BC, he repaired the Xingle Palace (兴乐宫) of the Qin Dynasty and renamed it to Changle Palace (长乐宫). Two years later, a new palace called Weiyang (未央宫) was constructed. 

In 195 BC, his son, Emperor Hui of Han began the construction of the walls of Chang'an and finished them in September of 191 BC. Emperor Hui, Emperor Wu of Han then built several palaces in the city. At that time, Zhang Qian went to the west as a diplomat of the Empire of Han. Chang'an city became a bridge between Asia and Europe as the eastern end of the famous Silk Road. 

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In 202 AD, more than 240,000 people lived in Chang'an in a urban area of nearly 40 square metres;. After the Western Han, the Eastern Han government made Luoyang the capital and renamed Chang'an to Xijing (Western Capital). After the Eastern Han, many dynasties regarded Chang'an city as the capital. 

In 582, Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty selected a place in the southeast of it to build a new capital which he called Daxing (renamed as Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty). The Chang'an city of the Han Dynasty was abandoned. 

Now The Silk Road "Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor" has already become a world cultural heritage site. The site of Weiyang Palace in Chang' an City of the Han Dynasty is one of the seven sites in Shaanxi province.

Weiyang Palace
Weiyang Palace covers and are of 4.8 square kms, around 1/7 of the size of Whole Chang'an City. Weiyang Palace is the imperial palace during the Western Han Dynasty. Built in 200 BC, Weiyang Palace was the place where 12 emperors of Western Han governed the court. When viewed from above, the palace is roughly square, about 2250 meters long from east to west and about 2150 meters from south to north. 

Weiyang palace consisted of more than 40 halls. Major architectures within the palace include: the Front Hall. Xuanshi Hall. Wenshi Hall. Qingliang Hall. Qilig Hall. Jinhua Hall. Chengming Hall. Gaomen Hall. Baihu Hall. Yutang Hall. Xuande Hall. Jiaofang Hall. Shaoyang Hall. Bailiang Platform. Tianlu Pavilion and Shiju Pavilion.

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The Front Hall of Weiyang Palace was built besides the southern main gate and its huge structure base of rammed earth still lies there today. The existing base of the Front Hall is about 150 meters from east to west and over 350 meters from north to south Now. It is situated at the center of the whole palace. with its base altar spanning about 350 meters from north to south. 200 meters from east to west and 15 meters high at the north tiptop. Historical records show that Weiyang Palace had a Sima Gate (gate for defense) at each of the four sides. a watchtower at each of the northern and eastern gates -- the East Watchtower was for seigneurs to meet the emperor and the North Watchtower for scholars and ordinary people to submit written statements.

The highest point in the north reaches more than 10 meters. At the point about 200 meters north of the site of the Front Hall was the Jiaofang Hall discovered in 1987. where empresses of the Han Dynasty lived. On the north of the Weiyang Palace are the sites of the Tian Pavilion and the Shiqu Pavilion. which belonged to the Imperial Library of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD). Eave tiles with characters of "Chang Le Wei Yang"and "Chang Sheng Wu Ji". Han air bricks and aqueducts could be found from time to time.

Nowadays no palace but an archaeological site can be found in the Weiyang Palace site. However, the site is still there as a silent witness of the Silk Road.


Bus Routes
1. Take bus No. 234 or 331, get off at Zhouhewan Station
2. Take bus No. 223, 713, or 912, get off at Gaobaozi Station
3. Take bus No. 226, get off at Yanquemen Village

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