You’ve probably seen them in movies and tv-series: the enormous army of terracotta warriors in Xi’an, China. They are one of the top sights in China and with good reason.
Just us & the terarcotta army
I can’t believe it was way back in 1999, when I visited. BAck then we couldn’t just look something up on the internet and got lost several times in China. The good thing though was that, there weren’t many tourists. All in all, I think we were 8 people at the site. Including me and my travel companion.
Looking back on my many travels, one experience really stands out. We met two Chinesse students, that were very keen to practice their English, so they gave us a small tour. As it’s said: travelling is all about the people you meet. My china trip was no different. We talked a lot about being young and students in different countries and what their prospects were. They wanted to be the best of their class, so they could travel abroad and study.We felt very lucky (and unfair) that we could explore more of their country than they could.
The emperor's mausoleum
The site is close to Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum, who became emperor at 13. The warriors are part of the huge burial site and was created to protect the emperor in his afterlife. Each warrior is unique – maybe modelled after actual soldiers. The soldiers and the chariots are life-size, which is awe inspiring and the technical skills are definitely to be admired.
All in all, there are about 7.000 soldiers, horses, chariots and weapons. This place is huge. It took 11 years to finish and including the mausoleum, 720.000 builders to make.
It is of course a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Legend tells, that the tomb contains replicas of the area’s rivers and streams made with mercury flowing to the sea through hills and mountains of bronze. Precious stones such as pearls are said to represent the sun, moon, and other stars. This legend and the fascinating army have inspired many movies. If you want to see the warriors come to life watch “The great wall of china” with Matt Damon (but it’s not good).
We just took the local transportation, but there are plenty of planned trips, since this is one of the top sights in China. You need a lot fo time, since the mausoleum is also worth visiting. Find the official info here.
Obviously also visit Xi’an itself. The city has a lot to offer. I especially remember the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the large city wall and the muslim area with the mosque.