Trip to the Terracotta Warriors

Infantry pit

I went to Xi’an to see the Terracotta warriors.  It works out pretty well if you plan to see both Beijing and Shanghai because you don’t have to go terribly far out of your way to stop in Xi’an along the way.  You can see them in about half a day.  The best way is just to book a tour through wherever you are staying.  It’s easy and the cost is fairly low.  I went through the hostel I was staying at and the cost was under $50.

As far being worth the extra time, this site was impressive. It spans 3 enormous pits, each of which are enclosed to protect the excavation. You go to see them and the grounds surrounding, led by an English speaking tour guide.

This site is really unique and shocking at the same time.  The amount of people who died to protect the emperor in the after life is staggering.  The thing that makes this place so different is that each warrior is different.  Each one had a life outside of the terracotta form and each one died to have the honor of protecting the emperor forever.

The most incredible part of all is that each warrior has completely unique features. This is because they were modeled after the workers who created them. The workers were killed after their statues were created to preserve the secret of the warriors. So far they have found only one smiling warrior.  Neither of these are him.

This hill below is the man-made tomb of the emperor Qin Shi Huang who the warriors were built to protect. He is apparently buried here with 3,000 concubines who were killed after his death. He was buried underground and the hill was then built over him. It can’t be excavated because the tomb is surrounded by extremely high levels of mercury that was placed all around it to protect the emperor.

This is the farmer who found the first warrior. He is something of a local celebrity. Now instead of farming he signs books for tourists.