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Terracotta Road Warrior

Xi'an Travel Blog

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I arrived in Xi'an at about 10:00AM, Tuesday morning and took a taxi to the Hotel Sofitel, which I had looked at on the internet weeks before at a rate of $165, but didn't book.  This part of the trip was on my dime so I really didn't want to spend a lot of money on hotel accomodations and the Sofitel looked really nice plus the rate wasn't too bad.  I'd been told, and had read many times that hotel rates in China are totally up for grabs and that only naive business people on expense accounts pay the published rack rate.  Furthermore, it was strongly suggested that a person just show up and negotiate a room rate, so that's what I decided to do, though not by choice.  When I got to the Sofitel, I told the front desk clerk that I'd like a room for one night and was told that they were totally booked up.

site of the original well dug by farmers in 1974 where the army was discovered
  As I slowly moved aside, another clerk asked me if she could help me, and I said that I wanted a room but was just told there were none available.  She said, oh, there are rooms, and after typing on her keyboard for a few seconds, she said she had one suite available.  I didn't even ask what the price was before telling her I wasn't interested in a suite and asked if there was anything else available.  She said, yes, there was a deluxe room for the equivalent of $200.  She absolutely wouldn't budge on the rate and only offered me access to their business center to use the internet to try to book a room there at a more favorable rate.  I grudgingly took the room at $200.  Then I booked a tour to the Terracotta Warriors site for the next day.
vanguard
 

My tour guide, Peter, explained that the reason for the amazingly smoggy air in Xi'An was that the farmers were burning their dried corn stalks.  I found that really hard to believe, I mean, they'd have to be burning mountains of corn to generate this much pollution, and, in fact, I later learned that the smog is from industrial plants around the city.  I had a fresh pair of contacts in that morning and my eyes were burning like crazy. 

I must say that the Terracotta Warriors was the most dramatic sight I've seen, not only on this trip, but in my life.  The Terracotta Army was buried with the Emperor of Qin around 200 BC to help rule the empire in the afterlife.  Construction of the mausoleum is believed to have taken 700,000 workers 40 years to complete.

  The figures are life-like and life-sized--actually slightly more than life-sized for the time--and vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle, according to rank, as well as facial feature and expression, with no figure being the same.  There are more than 6,000 warriors and horses just in Pit No. 1, in battle formation, with three columns facing east as vanguard.  Shortly after completion another emperor raided the tomb and burned it.  Only one warrior, the kneeling archer, has survived unbroken after 2,000 years. 

After the tour I visited the museum gift shop which was also amazing.  If you wanted to buy a life size Terracotta Warrior replica, for your whatever reason, you could for a mere $12,000, and it would be made from the same clay that the original workers used.  I opted for a slightly smaller version of the General and the kneeling archer. 

There were pictures of practically every head of state during the past 20 years visiting the museum, with the most recent being the President of Costa Rica and his entourage the day before I was there.   It's truly one of the most awe inspiring sights you'll ever see and if you ever have the opportunity, don't pass it up.

 

kamja says:
OMG. This is one of my Need-To-Visit places. It had to be so great!
Posted on: Oct 30, 2007
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site of the original well dug by f…
site of the original well dug by …
vanguard
vanguard
this pit wont be unearthed until …
this pit won't be unearthed until…
work in process
work in process
remind me never to have my picture…
remind me never to have my pictur…
no better, but its a good shot of…
no better, but it's a good shot o…
Xi'an
photo by: Deats