In our last full day in Xi’an, we did two more tourist visits. The first visit was to the most popular attraction of our trip to Xi’an, the Terracotta Warriors. When I say it was the most popular attraction, the frenzy of people pushing to the front rail to see the pits were intense and we had to leave earlier to beat the crowds. When elderly Chinese women are pushing you out of the way, forcefully, to see these pits you know it’s worth the view. There were three separate pits in the park, and after looking at all three, Pit 1 was easily the most impressive. It has 6000 soldiers and horses and they are arranged in battle formation (image below). When I got to the rail of Pit 1, the view was breath-taking. There were many soldiers, some without heads, which I learned that they were taken off for repair and restoration. It’s nice to see that the government is actively preserving and sharing their ancient culture.
Some facts about the Terracotta Warriors: Pit 3 housed the generals for Pit 1 and 2, which was home to the whole army. Some of the statues were broken by civilians because they believed that these soldiers didn’t protect the emperor. There are a total of 8000 warriors, but we can only see 2000 of them while the others are still buried. It is mind-boggling that this has been excavated after 2200 years since its conception. After this tourist attraction, we went to lunch at a western style buffet. Although the food was Chinese, we were given a table set with a fork and knife, which is something I haven’t seen since we got here because we only eat with chopsticks here. Using a fork was nice because I was able to eat and be full for once!
Post-lunch, we traveled to the Xi’an City Wall which is an ancient Chinese city wall that protected the old capital of the country. The surface was very bumpy, comparable to the cinderblocks roads found in Europe. This made the bike ride very difficult. Yes, I got to ride a bike. Was it covered under insurance if I fell off of the 39 foot wall? I hope. The perimeter was fifteen kilometers long and we had to walk one of the sides. We were equipped with a mountain bike and a helmet but the hard headwind and bumpy terrain made the ride more difficult than expected. Although it was physically taxing, the rush of the wind in my face and the speed I was moving at made the tour exhilarating.
Even though this was our last day in Xi’an, I loved experiencing the new city. There were so many new things to explore and see and the way the city ran was monumentally different than how Beijing ran. This city seemed more up and coming, but with a lot of development in process. From the ancient landmarks to the fact that this city was the capital before Beijing for 1100 years, Xi’an displays a lot of Chinese culture that I was looking forward to seeing when I signed up for this trip. Onto Shanghai!