I have always wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors so I was very excited about going to Xi'an. We arrived in the afternoon and went to the city wall for a bike ride. So fun! It looks very similar to the Great Wall -- just not built on a mountain. It was originally around the entire city but the city has expanded well beyond the wall now.
Kite flying is very popular on the wall.
Off they go!
The next day it was off to see the warriors bright and early. First we stopped at a Terra Cotta Warrior factory (aka touristy gift shop) where we could get warriors at a cheaper price.
We made a few purchases and then it was time to see the warriors. I had seen pictures of it but was still amazed.
The first Qin Emperor built them, wanting to take his army into his next life. He had all of them built in secrecy underground. All who didn't die during the building period were put to death when it was completed to keep the secret. Within four years of his death, the next emperor located it, smashed all the warriors and set it on fire.
It lay there unknown until 1974 when some farmers, digging a well, uncovered heads, arms and legs. In terror, they reported their find to the government. Excavations began and are still continuing. There are three pits, each containing thousands of warriors, horses, officials, etc.
I had no idea that the warriors had all been smashed. Only one was found intact. They are putting them together piece by piece. What painstaking work!
The first sight...so amazing.
A closer look
So many broken pieces!
Some of the horses
The warrior hospital. As the men are reassembled, they look like this. They glue as many pieces as they find and fill in the rest. The detail is incredible.
We were then told we could go into a special room where there was a chariot and horses which was 'very special.' There was a crush of people and the 'special room' was the bottleneck. Too late we realized there was no turning around. At one point someone started pushing and I had to throw a body block to keep Molly from getting trampled. I was literally pushing back with my entire weight. Nuts!! All for a glimpse of a chariot that I never really did see. Kevin took my camera, held it over his head and got this shot. Then he went back to body blocking to keep his nieces from being crushed. Whee!
And in other news...
Funny sign of the day on the door of the bathroom stall (bottom right).