Day 7: Peering Deep into the Past

I had been looking forward to seeing the Terracotta Warriors ever since I signed up for plus3, and today did not disappoint. The weather was for the first time truly cloudy (not just smog) and it began to drizzle soon after boarding the bus. This worked out well however, since the terracotta army was housed within large airplane-hanger type shelters. The travel time was a little over an hour, but our tour guide, Cindy, kept us entertained as she described how the first emperor of the Qin dynasty had buried over 700,000 workers inside the tombs after he had died. The more we heard, the more it seemed like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. When we arrived, the place was packed. The first overlook into the excavated pits was certainly the most impressive, and unfortunately the most crowded. I had to jostle through a massive crowd for about 10 minutes to get a decent look, but the view was amazing. Apparently only 1000 warriors have been restored (the place was ransacked shortly after the fall of the Qin dynasty), but even that portion of the army was enough to fill up a larger portion of the cavernous room. It was hard to believe the amount of work that went into making what was essentially a life-sized replica of the emperor’s kingdom. Taking a closer look at the few very well preserved statues revealed the painstaking detail that went into each figure. Most of us were extremely tired from the morning tour, but we found enough energy after lunch to complete a bike ride around the city walls of Xi’an. For me, it was the perfect way to finish out our time here in the city, as we could see the entire historical section from our vantage point, and really appreciate the effort that the builders had put in to ensure that this ancient capital was safe from intruders.

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