After 50 years' excavation, the ruins of Han Dynasty city of Changan have finally been brought to light. Located to the northwest of Xi'an, Changan City was the capital of the Han Dynasty, its history starting around 2,200 years ago. Before its heyday came to an end some 200 years later, Changan competed with Rome as the two biggest cities in the world.
The well-preserved ruins have preserved the legend of Changan for later ages, and the efforts of archeologists have unfolded more details of its fable.
Changan City consisted of 11 districts, connected by 8 main streets (about 45-55 meters wide). There were 12 gates around the city. The city's neat structure must have been the result of careful urban planning, bearing many similarities to modern city structures.
According to historical documents, the population in the downtown area of Changan City was around 240 thousand, with the total population reacing 1.2 million, an amazing figure by the standards of that time.
The imperial palace, Weiyang Palace, in Changan City was also very impressive. Covering 5 sq km, it stood at seven times the size of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
(Chinanews.cn November 13, 2006)