Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

Posted by on Oct 25, 2015 in Asia, China, Travel | 0 comments

Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

A bullet train sweeps us away from Beijing, bound for Xi’an.
The journey takes about five and a half hours, the train travelling at over 300 km/h.

We arrive into Xi’an North railway station where we jump straight on the subway and head to our hostel, conveniently located in the centre of town.

It’s late afternoon and we head out for a wander, making our way to the bustling Muslim Quarter.

As the sun goes down the streets come alive and it gets busy with Chinese and foreign tourists alike.

 

Busy street

 

Vendors cook meat kebab sticks over open flames and stir fry tofu with chilli.

Pomegranate is in season and is being freshly squeezed into bright red juice, while flies are brushed away from sugary chestnut cake.

We watch as sticky candy is stretched out and banged out, used to make a delicious nut and sesame toffee like substance which we discover is highly addictive!

Kites dance in the sky while people happily eat roujiamo, a round piece of bread sliced half open and stuffed with meat.  Usually this is done with pork, but in the muslim quarter beef is used.

There is so much to look at and we take our time to soak it all in, stopping for dinner at a Chinese restaurant along the way.

 

Chopping meat

 

Making nut candy

 

Crabs on sticks and pork knuckles

 

The next day it’s time for the main event, the world famous Terracotta Warriors!

In 1974 local farmers were digging a well when they stumbled upon the remains of a warrior.  One farmer reported it to the government, and over the last 40 years more and more warriors have been painstakingly recovered and rebuilt.

You can pay a few hundred RMB for a private driver or negotiate with a taxi, but the cheapest and easiest way to get to the warriors is by public bus.  Departing from the east square of Xi’an Railway Station the 306, 914 and 915 run every few minutes and will only set you back 8 RMB per person for the one hour trip.

You might question what you’re doing when the man behind you burps repeatedly and the bus constantly stops to pick up people along the way, but at least you know you won’t be taken to any souvenir shops to buy warrior statues from your driver’s friend!

Walking into the first pit you come face to face with a life size army of thousands of warriors in perfect battle formation.  Originally complete with weapons, chariots and horses the army stands guard to protect Emperor Qin’s tomb, the first Emperor of China.

 

Pit 1

 

Chinese are strong believers in the afterlife, and the preparation of this army to protect him was of paramount importance to the Emperor.

The level of detail on the warriors is phenomenal.  No two faces are the same, and you can see the buttons on their shirts and plaits in their hair.

Even today the Emperor’s actual tomb still cannot be accessed thanks to security measures put in place when he was originally laid to rest, including mercury being put in the water and weapons set up to automatically fire at intruders.

Entry to the warriors is 150 RMB per ticket, and we forked out an additional 150 RMB between two for a guide to show us around for an hour and a half.  You can walk around on your own, but the guide gave us a lot of additional information that wasn’t on the signs and pointed out the most interesting things.

A truly impressive archaeological wonder, the Terracotta Warriors are definitely worth a visit and have certainly put Xi’an on the map.

 

Horses deep pit

 

Close up man and horse

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