Xi'an ( SHYAHN, also UK: shee-AN, US: shee-AHN, Chinese: [ɕí. án] (listen)) is the capital of Shaanxi Province, China. A sub-provincial city on the Guanzhong Plain in Northwest China, it is one of the oldest cities in China, and the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Sui, and Tang.
Xi'an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Since the 1990s, as part of the economic revival of inland China especially for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi'an has re-emerged as an important cultural, industrial and educational centre of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and space exploration. Xi'an currently holds sub-provincial status, administering 9 districts and 4 counties. As of 2018 Xi'an has a population of 12,005,600, and the Xi'an–Xianyang metropolitan area a population of 12. 9 million. It is the most populous city in Northwest China, as well as one of the three most populous cities in Western China, the other two being Chongqing and Chengdu. In 2012, it was named as one of the 13 emerging megacities, or megalopolises, in China. "Xi'an" is the atonal pinyin romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation of its name 西安, which means "Western Peace".