When planning our trip to China, I knew that seeing the Terracotta Warriors would be a must, even though it takes a bit of work to get from Beijing to Xi’an. Also, when once in Xi’an, it’s still a 45 minute drive to get to the warrior’s site. So, it’s not easy. That being said, imagine my dismay when Eva woke up, the night before our warrior trip, throwing up! (Cleaning up puke in a hotel room, with no cleaners, in the middle of the night, is such a joy.) Then I laid awake imagining a “Wally World’ moment, making it all the way to Xi’an and missing the warriors! Luckily, Eva was fine in the morning and we were good to go. Whew!
The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors is just fascinating to me. This army was created in 250 BC (that’s OLD!!!), to protect Emperor QinShihuang in his afterlife. Fast forward to 1974, two farmers were digging a well in their field and kept hitting some terracotta fragments. They alerted the government, and excavation of the area began immediately and is still ongoing today. Three different pits were found containing an estimated 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and over 600 hundred horses!
Originally, each pit was covered by a roof made of wood which was then draped with layers of fiber mats and filled with soil. The eventual collapse of the roof actually helped to preserve and conceal the warriors.
They had a few of the finished soldiers on display for a closer look. These are life size statues, and amazingly, all have different facial features, as well (confirmed to be modeled after the true Qin army). I can’t even comprehend this!
There were just rows and rows of soldiers with different uniforms and weapons, each representing a different unit of the real army. There were even entertainers, acrobats and other non-military statues in the mix.
Each soldier was made out of clay in sections (arms, legs, torso, head, etc.), next, each had personalization of face and uniform, then fired in a kiln, and finally, put together in assembly line fashion.
At the very front of Pit One, the red arrow signified the exact spot where the farmers were digging their well. Little did they know what sat beneath them (it is said that the farmers were very well compensated to vacate their land immediately).
I had always been so intrigued with the story of the Terracotta Warriors, and seeing them in person was a truly awe inspiring moment. Pictures don’t do it justice! And to think that they are over 2,000 years old is so incredible. I really wonder what else is still hidden in the ground, just waiting to be discovered.
That evening while the girls swam at the hotel pool (always the most requested activity), I headed back to the Muslim Quarter by myself. I loved this area! (Read more about the area here. )
Xi’an and the Terracotta Army was a wonderful stop on our China tour, and a big check mark for me. Now, on to our final city, Shanghai!