Army of Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Army is not just Xi’an’s most important attraction.
It is his one of the most famous archaeological discoveries in the world. This underground, life-sized army of thousands has quietly watched over the soul of China’s first unifier for more than 2000 years of his life. Qin Shi Huang feared the defeated spirits that awaited him in the afterlife, or hoped, as most archaeologists believe, that his death reign would continue as it had in his lifetime.
However, the guardians of his tomb date back to the 3rd century BC. – Today we offer some of the greatest insights we have of the ancient Chinese world.
The discovery of an army of warriors was entirely accidental. In 1974, while drilling a well, a farmer discovered an underground vault that eventually yielded thousands of terracotta warriors and horses in battle formation. Over the years, the place became very famous and many of its unusual features are known today. Especially the fact that no two soldiers have the same face.
The on-site wraparound theater provides an overview of how the characters were formed. You can hire a guide (low season/high season 150/200 yen) or you can try audio his guide (40 yen + deposit 200 yen).
You can then visit the sites in reverse order to build the most impressive pit worthy of the finale. Start with Pit 3, the smallest pit with 72 warriors and horses. It is believed to be the army headquarters, as many dignitaries have been unearthed here. Interestingly, the north room was used to make offerings before battles. Pit 2 is next, with about 1,300 warriors and horses, and a closer look at five soldiers.
A kneeling archer, a standing archer, a cavalryman and his horse, a lieutenant general and a general. The level of detail is extraordinary.
Everything from the expression, hairstyle, armor, and profile of the shoes is unique.
Pit 1, the largest pit, is the most impressive. Housed in a building the size of an airplane hangar, it is said to house 6,000 warriors (only 2,000 are on display) and horses, all facing east and ready to fight. The vanguard of 3 rank archers (both crossbows and longbows) follows a main body of soldiers originally armed with spears, swords, dagger axes, and other long-shafted weapons. The infantry was accompanied by his 35 chariots, but these wooden chariots had long decayed.
The two bronze chariots and horses unearthed 20 meters west of the Qin Shi Huang Tomb are as amazing as the soldiers. These are now on display in a vast modern museum called the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum Cultural Relic Exhibition Hall (Qǐnshǐhuángdìlíng Chénliètīng), along with some of the original weapons and an up-close look at the lieutenant general. . .
You can take pictures, but signs prohibit the use of flash (mostly ignored) or tripods.
Among the more kitschy souvenirs, you can personalize your warrior statue with your own face (¥100) or have your picture taken next to a fake warrior (¥10). Gifts in the theater building In his shop, you can also buy all kinds of terracotta ornaments, from warrior paperweights to life-size statues. There is also a friendly store for jade, jewellery, etc.
The Terracotta Army is easily accessible by public bus. Take air-conditioned bus 914 or 915 (8 yen, 1 hour) from Xi’an Railway Station. Buses depart every 4 minutes from 6am to 7pm. I will go to the end by bus. The bus also goes to Huaqing Hot Springs and Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb (belonging to the Terracotta Army). The parking lot is a 15-minute walk from the site, but electric buggies (5 yen) are also available. There is a good cafe in the theater building if you want to eat here. Take the exit back to the car and bus parking lot and take another route past various restaurants and fast food including McDonald’s. The bus will take you back to town from the parking lot.