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Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi Province. A sub-provincial city on the Guanzhong Plain in Northwest China, it is one of the oldest cities in China, the oldest prefecture capital, and one of the Chinese Four Great Ancient Capitals, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Sui, Northern Zhou, and Tang. Xi’an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
Since the 1980s, as part of the economic growth of inland China, especially for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi’an has re-emerged as a cultural, industrial, political, and educational center of the entire central-northwest region. As of 2018 Xi’an has a population of 12,005,600, and the Xi’an–Xianyang metropolitan area a population of 12.6 million. It is the most populous city in Northwest China and the third most populous city in Western China, the other two being Chongqing and Chengdu.
Because of the city’s many historical monuments and numerous ancient ruins and tombs in the vicinity, tourism has been an important component of the local economy. The Xi’an region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.