Xi'an is one of the most important cities in Chinese history. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China and was the capital during 13 dynasties. Xi'an is over 3100 years old. It was known as Chang'an in ancient times, which means eternal city.
Emperor Qinshihuangdi became King of the state of Qin at the age of 13. By the age of 38 he had conquered the 6 neighboring states to unify China for the first time. Shortly after ascending the throne, he began work on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. While digging for a well in 1974, some local peasants uncovered some pottery near the royal tomb.
It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xi'an in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).
The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary.
Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.
The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.
This is right by the entrance. We had a tour guide that took our picture.
Again, outside the entrance.
Inside Pit #1
That's rows and rows of the warriors that you see behind the boys.
Not sure what that face is all about!
Looks like he fits right in, doesn't he?!
They sell the life size warriors. We bought a couple of smaller ones, but I don't really NEED a life size one!
Inside one of the new museums.
Again, looks like he belongs there!
This is one of the chariots. There are 2 chariots on display. One was for the emperor, and the other was for his servants. (I think that's right). Anyway, they have replicas in Shanghai for the World Expo. So at Xi'an, the emperor's chariot was the real one, and the other one was a copy. Here in Shanghai for the Expo, the emperor's is the copy, and the other one is the real one.
This is one of the ladies making the smaller warriors. We bought 2 that are about 8-12 inches tall. The detail work on them, including the small ones, is AMAZING!
Andrew and Sarah looking at some of the finished products.
Guess Sarah got bored already!
One of the chariots.
A life size warrior.
Another one, with my warriors in front!
Aren't they just the cutest things?!
Not sure what THAT'S all about either!
My handsome boy.
I believe this was taken in Pit 2. They haven't uncovered all of it yet.
This is Pit 1. These are some of the ones they are in the process of working on.
Pit 1. The pictures don't do it justice. It's an AMAZING site, that we are very lucky we were able to experience.
Can you tell my pictures are out of order? Another picture of the entrance.
The entrance to Pit 1
Inside Pit 1. Again, the view is unbelievable. You have to see it to really experience it. It's a really impressive site that just takes your breath away.
If it's this impressive in the pictures, can you imagine how impressive it is in person?
The detail on the warriors is amazing. Everyone of them is different.
Again, an impressive sight.
A view of some of the horses.
Another view of the horses.
The columns in the middle were put there to hold up the mausoleum.
A view from the side. AMAZING!!!
Can you see the ones with the missing heads? That's because the heads are either broken and can't be fixed, or they haven't figured out which head belongs there yet. The heads are actually separate from the body. It's not all one piece. Useless Trivia #1!
More with missing heads.
Another section they haven't completely uncovered.
This guy is from the North. You can tell that because his mustache is pointed upward. Useless Trivia #2.
He's from the South. That's why his mustache is pointed downward. Useless Trivia #3!