China's long been on our travel list and we finally made it happen in September of 2019. This post is the second of a four-part series for China and Tibet.
I. Beijing and the Great Wall, II. Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors, III. Tibet, and IV: Chengdu, Yangtze River Cruise and Shanghai.
We traveled from Beijing to Xi'an (Zee Ann), home of the Terra Cotta Warriors, via a high speed train which hit speeds of over 200 mph. Four hours flew by in the big cushy seats as there was also power outlets, foot rests, and a snack trolley that came by frequently. Don't ask about the bathrooms, though. Ok, ok, they were squat toilets.
national bird of china? the "building crane."
A SMALL SAMPLING OF THE HUGE, GINORMOUS APARTMENT BUILDINGS. MANY ARE VACANT, BUT THEY JUST KEEP BUILDING. A FRIEND ASKED, "DO YOU KNOW THE NATIONAL BIRD OF CHINA?" NOPE. "IT'S THE BUILDING CRANE."
The Terra Cotta Warriors
I'd heard of them for years (who hasn't?) but found you can't really appreciate their sophisticated uniqueness and sheer size until you stand in their presence. The Warriors were discovered in 1974 (hey, wasn't that yesterday? by a farmer digging a well. What began as a find of a few pieces of pottery ended up to be an extraordinary world-class treasure,
The warriors are part (and only part) of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi's massive tomb. Excavation revealed there are over 600 "pits" which contain armies of larger than life-sized soldiers, horses, and even a chariot, all entombed for more than 2,000 years. Experts estimate there are 8,000 warriors (not yet all excavated), each unique in dress, shoes, facial features, and even hair style. And there's only one, ONE, that was intact. More on him later.
You visit the Warriors by walking along the sides of three of the major "pits. The rows of warriors is their original location, standing in formation, They were then covered with timber and canvas "roofs." If you look closely, you can see the grooves of the timbers along the top of the earthen dividers. Each and every one of these 400 pound statues were damaged and had to be repaired, and were then returned to formation.
each and every warrior is unique
and each and every warrior has had to be repaired. Except one. "the archer." Looting and earthquakes damaged all the others.
and someone (thankfully not me) has to put them back together from the pottery sharks. I can't even imagine the patience it must take. below is The warrior "hospital."
And who knew? They were painted!
The warriors were originally painted bright colors, as seen below in a museum reproduction.
When exposed to air, the paint fades, so excavation slowed and pieces are immediately wrapped in plastic. Below is a more recent excavation area in Pit 2.
walking the food bazaar XI'AN
Xi'an was once a small farming village but it's not small anymore. 8 million people live here!
Xi'an at Night
We took a gamble and decided to go back into town for some night shots, rather than go to bed early which had more than a bit of appeal. And were we ever surprised! The lights! The people! The shopping! Music was floating through the air as bands were playing and people were singing to the crowds from small stages set along the walkway. It was capitalism run amok.
It was awesome.
You may wish to adjust the volume for this one.
Xi'an, you are truly impressive!
Off to Tibet...