X is for Xi’an 西安

Gate at Modern Xi’an, still bustling after 3000 years. Photo at Panoramio.com.

The end is the beginning. The beginning is at the end.

Xi’an was the terminus and the initium. Certainly, from the Chinese point of view, for those who had the silk and knew the pathways above the desert and the skyscraping Himalayas, knew them far earlier than others who struck out to find trading parners, Xi’an was the beginning of their road, the road eventually named the Silk Road.

It was the place for one of the great dynasties of the world–the Han–a glittering civilization back in the days where Greece, Persia, and India were just beginning to look around and wonder how the universe was made. It was a place where philosophies and spiritual ideals intersected. It was the place where some of the biggest and grandest human enterprises started.

It was also called Chang’an. It was known as the Western Peace.

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