Traditional culture takes center stage in historic Xi'an
As night falls, Fang Xuanling and Du Ruhui, two officials from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), transcend time to embark on a captivating journey to the Grand Tang Mall, an enchanting scenic spot in the historic Chinese city of Xi'an.
In their quest to find new talent for the emperor, the two men dressed in long gowns with loose sleeves delightfully interact with tourists, employing witty and playful inquiries. Those who successfully provide the correct answers are rewarded with tokens of appreciation.
These scenes play out in an interactive show named "Grand Tang Secret Box," featuring two actors portraying the roles of the Tang Dynasty officials. The performance aims to popularize Chinese historical and cultural knowledge among the audiences in a creative way.
"The combination of a knowledge-testing quiz and a talk show makes for a wonderful fusion of history and fashion," said Zhang Qianqian, a tourist from north China's Shanxi Province.
This unique effort has propelled the Grand Tang Mall, a famed 2,100-meter-long pedestrian zone in Xi'an, into Internet stardom once again. During the five-day May Day holiday this year, the site received 2.7 million visitors.
The scenic area is located at the foot of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, one of Xi'an's most sacred monuments. During the Tang Dynasty, it was the place where eminent Monk Xuanzang translated Buddhist scriptures.
Strolling through the street, you will be instantly fascinated by the myriad of buildings that exude the architectural style reminiscent of the Tang Dynasty, while interactive shows immerse you in the rich tapestry of traditional Chinese culture.
"Here, every attraction reveals the profound nature of history, and every piece of music and dance performance tells a historical story. Whether one's passion lies in literature, history or food, everyone can indulge their interests and find delight in this remarkable place," said Liu Zhimin, another tourist from south China's Guangdong Province.
Such Tang-style blocks based on historical heritages have proven to be successful as Xi'an endeavors to develop its cultural tourism industry and stimulate the vitality of fine traditional Chinese culture.
As the provincial capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Xi'an, a city founded more than 3,100 years ago, served as the capital for 13 dynasties in Chinese history, including Tang, when the city was known as Chang'an.
This is also the place where Zhang Qian began his journey to the Western regions via Central Asia during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 25) with his envoys. Zhang's pioneering expedition opened up a route that later became the Silk Road, which would go on to see flourishing interactions between China and Central Asia.
Xi'an is rich in historical and cultural resources, such as the world-famous terracotta warriors and horses, the Bell and Drum towers, the ancient city wall and more.
It has a total of 159 museums, attracting over 30 million people each year, with 95 percent of its museums offering free entry.
"With conservation as the guiding principle, we aim to breathe new life into our cultural legacy through artistic projects and multimedia displays, thus giving visitors a sense of rediscovery in China's ancient capital," said Sun Chao, director of Xi'an Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.
The cultural tourism sector has gradually become a pillar industry in Xi'an, where visitors can delve into history at the renowned Shaanxi History Museum, traverse the majestic ancient city wall, or savor the immersive experience of donning traditional Chinese attire.
Statistical data shows that in the first quarter of this year, Xi'an received 45 million tourists, raking in tourism revenue of 53 billion yuan, up 12 percent and 22 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2019.
In rankings unveiled by online travel agency Trip.com Group, Xi'an was one of the top 10 popular tourist destinations during the past May Day holiday.
The China-Central Asia Summit, which will take place in Xi'an on May 18 and 19, has further propelled the city into the spotlight. For a long time, the city's rich cultural heritage and modern vibrancy have attracted visitors from far and wide.
Daiyrbek Kyzy Gulaiym, who hails from Kyrgyzstan, has been studying the Chinese language in Xi'an for more than four years.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by China in 2013, has deepened cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and China in areas such as trade, education, tourism and cultural exchange, creating more opportunities for the two peoples, the 24-year-old foreign student said.
"I hope to stay in Xi'an after graduation to gain a more comprehensive understanding of China, and also introduce the history, customs and scenery of my hometown to Chinese friends," she added.