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Xi’an was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected China with the Mediterranean. (2006 est.) city, 3,094,267; (2007 est.) urban agglom., 4,009,000.) as the capital of the Xi Jin dynasty, but its capture and destruction by the Xiongnu marked the end of organized Chinese control of the region.
Several small states made Chang’an their capital during the Sixteen Kingdoms (Shiliuguo) period (303–439), and it was adopted as the capital of the Xi Wei and Bei (Northern) Zhou states in the 6th century.
Among the initial industries established were those manufacturing metallurgical products, chemicals, precision instruments, construction equipment, and processed foods.
Located in the city is the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, housed in a former Confucian temple; it is noted for its Forest of Stelae, an important collection of inscribed stelae and Buddhist sculpture.
The Shaanxi History Museum preserves artifacts and art objects spanning Chinese history from Paleolithic times through the Qing dynasty.
Just to the south the Qin (Tsingling) Mountains rise dramatically above the plain.
The Xi’an region is one of the most important in the history of China, both as the capital of several ruling dynasties and as a market and trade centre.
A regional international airport, northwest of the city, has service to most major mainland cities and Hong Kong, as well as to a number of foreign destinations.