Diocese of Xi'an
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In a land area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the urban area and 3 counties of the sub-provincial city of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province in central China, and four counties of the prefecture-level city of Shangluo.

Population

As of 2010, Xi'an had a population of 8.46 million. The majority of Xi'an residents are Han Chinese, who make up 99.1 percent of the city's total population. There are around 81,500 people belonging to ethnic minorities living in Xi'an, including 50,000 Muslim Hui people concentrated in the Muslim quarter, which is also home to the 1,260 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an.

Language

Mandarin Chinese and Shaanxi dialect are in use in the diocesan territory.

History

The first evangelization in China took place at Xi'an, one of the oldest cities in Chinese history, which was called Chang'an when a Nestorian Christian bishop from Syria, Alopen, arrived AD 635. He was welcomed by the emperor of Tang Dynasty and Christianity had a flourish development for two centuries.

The period was commemorated with the erection of the Nestorian Stele, a 10-foot-high (279 cm) tablet that describes Christian doctrine and ceremonies, the development of Christianity in China and the support Christianity was given by some emperors of the Tang Dynasty.

The Stele is thought to have been buried in 845, during a campaign of anti-Buddhist persecution, which also affected the Nestorians. It was discovered in the 17th century and is now preserved in a museum in Xi'an.

In 1625, during late Ming Dynasty, French Jesuit Father Nicolas Trigault was invited by a Shaanxi-native bureaucrat Wang Zheng, who received baptism in Beijing, to spread the Gospel to Xi'an. Since then, more Jesuit missionaries went to Xi'an and other parts of Shaanxi. By 1664, there were 62,000 Catholic converts in the province.

In 1696, the Holy See sent Franciscan missionaries to preach in Shaanxi. The ecclesiastical boundaries changed several times between 1707 and 1845 when Qing Dynasty banned Christianity due to the Chinese rites controversy. The number of Catholics dropped to 15,000 after the difficult period.

Xi'an became a part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Central Shaanxi, which was established from the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Shaanxi in 1911. Central Shaanxi was renamed Xi'an in 1924 and lost territories to four newly erected regions - Dali (Weinan), Fengxiang, Sanyuan and Zhouzhi - a decade later. Xi'an was promoted to an archdiocese in 1946, when the Holy See established Church Hierarchy in China.

Transportation

Xi'an has a well developed transportation network. Xi'an Railway Station is one of eight major national railway stations. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, located to the north-west of the city, is the main airport serving the city, and ranked ninth in terms of passenger throughput in 2007.

Climate

Xi'an enjoys a continental climate. The region is characterized by long, hot summers, and cold, dry winters, with short seasons of spring and autumn in between. The city receives most of its annual precipitation from August to late October in the form of rain. Snow occasionally falls in winter but rarely settles for long. Dust storms often occur during March and April as the city rapidly warms up.

Economy

Xi'an is the largest economy of the Shaanxi province, with GDP of RMB 324.1 billion in 2010, up 14.5 percent year-on-year, and accounting for approximately 41.8 percent of the province's total. Equipment manufacturing is Xi'an's pillar secondary industry, while tourism is a pillar business of the city's service industry. In 2010, the tourist reception of Xi'an reached 52 million domestic tourists realizing a total tourism income of RMB 40.52 billion.

Topography

Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. The city borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountains to the south, and the banks of the Wei River to the north. Hua Shan, one of the five sacred Taoist mountains, is located 100 kilometers away to the east of the city. Not far to the north is the Loess Plateau.

Education

Xi'an is rich in high-level talents. It has 48 colleges and universities, with a populace of students numbering around 3.6 million. In 2009, there were 150,400 fresh graduates supplying enough high-level talents for the development of the city.

Culture

One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, Xi'an city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi'an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army.

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