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Xi’an

The Terracota Warriors

The Terracota Warriors

It’s just another quick flight to the walled city of X’ian, home of the Terracotta Warriers. This is a place that we both really wanted to go to because of the Warriers and while we could have taken the train, the flights were just as cheap so we did that. This time we flew on Sichuan Airlines which was nice and clean enough.

The next day we hopped the bus to the Warriers and hired an English speaking guide for about 4 hours.

2000 years ago, The Qin dynasty united China. The country had been broken up into factions for a long time but the newest Emperor, who took over at the young age of 13 was very strong and able to bring the 6 warring territories back to one unified country. He also instituted an educational system with what basically amounts fo college entrance exams, developed a consistent system of weights and measurements and finally, began construction of the Great Wall and built the world’s largest mausoleum.

In these times it was the belief that after you died you awoke in the afterlife with whatever you were buried with. Because Qin was such a powerful empreror, he wanted to come back with a whole army to keep his kingdom. Some people, still to this day, are buried with paper money, jewlery and other things. In the 3 pits currently uncovered, there are approx 8000 life sized warriers, 130 chariots, 520 horses and 150 calvary horses.

There are perhaps 100 other pits as well as a palace, complete with rivers of mercury. We don’t really know because the Chinese won’t escavate until they can find a better way to perserve the color of the warriers, which when uncovered are very bright, but fades almost completely within two weeks.

That and the other reason they give is because real rivers of mercury would be very deadly and supposedly a few people have already died because of this – though I don’t think the gov’t thinks much about worker’s safety.

The whole thing is just hard to get your head around. This whole thing took thousands of workers up to 30 years to complete. When Qin died, they were all killed so as to not give away the secret and this masuleum was never mentioned in any history book. Nobody knew anything about the whole thing until some farmers accidentally discovered one of the pits while digging a well.

Otherwise, X’ian is a pretty modern city complete with Starbucks and McDonalds and of course, KFC, which is everywhere in Asia. The last nice part of X’ian are the old city walls (X’ian used to be the capital of China) which are tall and massive and very beautiful to look at. We spent the evening just wandering around the city, eating skewars of meat for a yuan (15 cents), beer roasted duck and the asian equivalent of a cheesesteak.

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