繁盛的长安城 The Heyday of Chang'an
Chang'an, the capital city of the Tang Dynasty, is now called Xi'an. The city of Chang'an was built in the Sui Dynasty, and called at that time Daxing. The city took nearly 100 years to build. During the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an was almost 11 times as big as today's Xi'an, and was a metropolis of international renown.
There emperor lived and ruled in the imperial palace in Chang'an. To the south of the palace there was the so-called Imperial City, where the government offices were located. The streets and residences of Chang'an were designed like a chessboard, with neat and symmetrical layout of the east and west. The width of many streets and avenues inside the city was over 100 m (Zhuque Avenue was the widest street). The city of Beijing in the Ming and Qing dynasties was modeled on the pattern of Chang'an.
The residential areas and commercial areas inside the city were located separately. In the commercial areas there were many shops: meat shops, fish shops, medicine shops, silk shops, iron shops, gold and silver shops, etc. There were said to be over 200 kinds of shops in the eastern commercial area. All kinds of precious and rare goods were available there.
Chang'an was also the cultural center of China at that time, with rich and colorful recreational activities, such as music, dancing, cock fighting, tug-of-war, swing-playing, etc. The most famous painters, calligraphers and poets of the Tang Dynasty all gathered in Chang'an, and their creative activities added much glory to the city. Students came from Japan and Korea to study in Chang'an, and merchants flocked there from Central Asia. Among the population of around one million in Chang'an, there were over 10,000 foreign households.