"Beijing" means "northern capital," and "Nanjing" means "southern capital."

There is even a "Dongjing" or "eastern capital" that is WAY east of China. It's the city that the Japanese call "Tokyo."

Was there ever a "Xijing" or "western capital?" There is Chinese city called "Xi An" or "western peace" which may have been a capital of part of China at one time. Was this city, or any other city, Chinese or otherwise, ever referred to as "Xijing?" Put another way, did anyone ever name a western capital city Xijing just because of its relative importance to Beijing, Nangjing, and Dongjing?

  • This question is not related to the Chinese language, it is more of a Chinese geography / history type of question. – going Jul 5 '13 at 0:04
  • @going: I just realized that you had closed this question (which I rephrased somewhat). The original intent was not "where did it exist?" (geographical), but whether anyone had "bothered" to use this name/construct (linguistic). I originally thought that Xian was that city, then decided it wasn't. The question was asked in the spirit of this one chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/3410/… – Tom Au Sep 2 '17 at 17:13
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    I agree with the answer of zyc. Tokyo means 'Dojing' in Chinese, but it has nothing to do with the real 'Dojing' in Chinese history. Kyoto, is similar to Xi'an in Tang dynasty, But Xi'an has neven been called 'Dojing'. – Ran Sep 4 '17 at 3:00
  • @Ran: You meant Xijing, right? Because that's what I meant. – Tom Au Sep 4 '17 at 3:10
  • I mean, Tokyo in Chinese is called ‘东京’, It is called dojing because it's on the east of Kyoto. And Kyoto was once Japan's capital city. But 'Dojing' in Chinese history is city '开封',it has no relation with Tokyo, as zyc answered you. Kyoto, on the other hand, is now called '京都' in Chinese, in ancient time, it imitated 'Xi'an'(Xi'an sometimes called '西京' in Chinese history). – Ran Sep 4 '17 at 3:27

I don't believe there is any city officially named 西京, but that name has been used to refer to at least several cities, including what is now 西安.

  • The wiki link in your answer has shown that some cities did be called as 西京 officially in the history. Many of them were the second capital (陪都). – Stan May 31 '13 at 20:09
  • how about 中京?It is used in 《红楼梦》 as the pseudo name for the Capital. – 孤影萍踪 May 31 '13 at 20:32
  • @Stan I said there isn't any city officially named 西京, not there has never been one. – Stumpy Joe Pete May 31 '13 at 21:06
  • @StumpyJoePete: oh ... I forget westerners are sensitive to the tense ... – Stan Jun 1 '13 at 4:31
  • 东都 is use preferred than 东京. – Daniel Yang Sep 4 '17 at 4:36

Kaifen(开封) used to be the "Dongjing" of China during Song dynasty. Xi'an(西安) was the "Western capital" of China in many dynasties. However instead of “Xijing” (西京), it was referred as "Xidu"(西都) in many ancient literature. For example: "望西都,意踌躇。" By 张养浩( Zhang yanghao ) Yuan Dynasty. But Xidu and Xijing are basically same meanning.


There is a 西京 to Japan's 東京; you were just looking in the wrong country: it's Kyoto, which for a short time was named Saikyō, just as Edo was renamed Tokyo when the capital moved from Kyoto to it.

This is similar to how Nanjing and Beijing got their names too, when the capital was moved during Ming from then-金陵 to then-北平. In Japan's case only Tokyo's name stuck; in China's case both stuck (or rather, reverted a few times).

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