This city whose name means Perpetual Peace functioned not only as the the capital city of ancient China for ten dynasties but during the peak of the Chinese civilization, the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907), it became the most populous and cosmopolitan city in the entire world. As the terminal point for the fabled Silk Road, it was an economic powerhouse that attracted ambitious adventurers and wealthy merchants via interlocking trade routes that stretched to the European cities of the Mediterranean as well as Northern and Eastern Africa. Prosperous and powerful, it was tolerant of many ethnicities and religions which contributed to its exceptional production of art and literature. During this time China saw its one and only female emperor, Wu Zetian, rise to power.
It was, however, still a medieval city with its superstitious beliefs, political intrigues, unique sexual proclivities, and zealous schemers who wielded deadly power over the less fortunate. It was into this world that Anna and Michio have come and one they must navigate with care.
Virtual Chang’an in the 7th Century
When Anna first arrives in the city she makes her way to the Western Market, seen below.