Terracotta Warriors

Xi'an Travel Blog

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I am standing next to a display of Terracotta Warriors for purchase.

       At 9:30 this morning we were loaded into a 10-seater van with an ill-tempered air conditioning system and on our way to the Terracotta Warriors. In the front seat was our tour guide, a young Chinese woman named Joyce, and our psychotic driver, who, like many drivers in the country, find it necessary to weave in and out of traffic, cross over into oncoming traffic, and completely ignore any and all pedestrians. You can't blame him for the latter offense, however, because if the pedestrians had the right-of-way in China, no one would get anywhere. In front of us were two twenty-something males from Austrailia, along with a Chinese woman, while behind us sat two older men from Austrailia and another woman from another Chinese Provence.

This is Pit 1.

       We were thankful to be on an English-speaking tour this time around. However, once again, there were some surprise stops in store for us. Our first stop was Banpo, a neolithic village that dates back 6,000 years. We were ushered into an old building where we were instructed to look at what appeared to be a dirt floor with a few holes in it, which we were told was a village at one point. We were also directed towards a diarama of the village, which hadn't been dusted in at least three decades, and next we watched a five minute video that was poorly translated into English.

       After spending a rather boring forty minutes at the unwanted stop, we were back in the overheated bus and on our way to a second unwanted stop.

Jason and I are standing in Pit 1 of the Terracotta Army.
At this stop, we were supposed to be watching women recreate terracotta warriors using a five step process and materials used in the actual figures, which we could then by for outrageous prices. Instead, we entered the "work room," where a few women sat idly at the "work" tables and another woman had her head down, sound asleep. We then entered a rather large, five-roomed gift shop that sold all sorts of items at grossly inflated prices. We were all convinced that the tour leaders only took us to these pathetic  stops because they would get a cut of the profit on any item we bought. Since no one in our group wanted to purchase anything, and we were all growing annoyed due to the unnecessary stops, we continued on.

        We actually arrived at what appeared to be the site of the Terracotta army, but we were taken to a room where we were told to pay an additional forty RMB per person for a buffet.

warriors from the back
After picking at the cold food for a while and then waiting impatiently for our tour leader to return, we were finally on our way.

       We were positive that we were now going to the wanted destination. Then Joyce led us up to a building labeled "Cinema." We were forced into a crowded standing room to watch a twenty minute video about the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the despotic ruler who unified China over 2,000 years ago and had the terracotta army built to guard his massive tomb.

        At last, five hours into the tour, we arrived at Pit One, which is the most impressive pit that contains over 6,000 warriors arranged in battle formation. We stood in awe of the sight and the history right in front of us.

Jason is haggling for a deal on a Terracotta Warrior statue in the Muslim Quarter.
From above, we carefully examined the countenances and the hairstyles, verifying that each figure truly was unique from the rest. The entire back half of the vault was strewn with smashed heads and fragments that hadn't yet been pieced together. We then made our way to Pit 3, discovered two years after the first pit, which was much smaller in size and considered to be the command center of the warriors. The final pit we explored, Pit 2, was larger then the third pit, yet it was almost entirely unexcavated. However, along the outsides of the pit were several excavated figures, including an archer, a horse, and a high-ranking officer, enclosed in glass cases for up-close viewing.

        After returning from an exciting day, we had a dinner of rice, dumplings, and wantons, before returning to the bustling Muslim Quarter, to experience more of the lively atmosphere.

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I am standing next to a display of…
I am standing next to a display o…
This is Pit 1.
This is Pit 1.
Jason and I are standing in Pit 1 …
Jason and I are standing in Pit 1…
warriors from the back
warriors from the back
Jason is haggling for a deal on a …
Jason is haggling for a deal on a…
photo by: Deats