With just over a month left in China, Mitch and I are pushed for time to visit places. While we take opportunities during the Chinese National Holidays, these weekends are ridiculously busy at the hot-spot tourist places (The Yellow Mountain on New Year’s Day = Very bad idea!).
With this is mind, we decided to pick a random weekend to visit the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. A domestic flight from Hangzhou airport got us there in about two hours. We’ve avidly been trying to avoid air travel while in China (up until Xi’an we’d only taken two domestic flights in nine months), as our awareness of air pollution and the environment has increased dramatically since moving here. However, there were no trains from Hangzhou, so the convenience factor weighed in.
A Bit of History on the Terracotta Warriors
For those of you who don’t know much about the Terracotta Warriors, here’s the lowdown: In 1974, some farmers tried to dig a well in a rural area of China, not far from the town of Xi’an (Shaanxi Province). However, in their attempt to make their well, they instead discovered a whole bunch of buried figures under the ground. These figures were life-size soldiers and, after much time digging and discovering more of them, archeologists figured they’d actually been there for about 2000 years. They were apparently created for Qin Shi Huang, who wanted them to protect him in the afterlife, guarding the area around his tomb.
Of course, there are various theories and conspiracies about the Terracotta Warriors. I don’t have time to delve into my thoughts on those. Instead, I want to share with you the thoughts of what I saw, and that was something pretty damn amazing.
My Thoughts on the Terracotta Warriors
Avoiding a National Holiday was a superb idea as it was busy but not crazy. We could stroll around and see everything without having hoards of people in the way. Despite our hostel offering a tour, and numerous tour guides approaching us when we arrived, we decided to explore the site on our own.
You observe most of the warriors from above, looking into the pits below. There is a large amount of land yet to be unearthed as the archeological discovery continues. It’s quite an exciting time to see the site. You can observe various parts with post-it notes stuck to them and warriors covered in film to try and keep them in one piece.
Pit 1 is where most of the discovered warriors are, with around 2000 lined up and ready for battle. It’s an impressive sight and I wanted nothing more than to hop down and have a photo by their life-sized bodies. Of course, I couldn’t. There was a human guard minding the Terracotta guards who I’m sure would have restrained me if I had attempted to hop into the pit.
They are a truly phenomenal sight to see. The way some of them have been preserved in pristine condition, the way they have different faces, the way a piece of history has been buried in the ground for so long.
I am very lucky to have seen them, and I hope you get the chance too as well!
Have you visited the Terracotta Warriors? Let me know what you think! I’m also happy to give you any information regarding how best to get to the site.