Tag Archives: Xi’an

Terra Cotta Warriors

In 1974, just outside of the main city of Xi’an, an enormous mausoleum sight was found. Clay parts had been showing up in the area for years but no one actually thought to discover why until archaeologists began digging more than 2,000 years after the mausoleum was built.

The main tomb is a mound built up 70m in the ground. It has yet to be explored but a book from the proceeding dynasty describes it as having a river of mercury, with gems, diamonds, and pearls on the ceiling.

It took one million laborer to construct the main tomb and surrounding outs which were filled with terra cotta warriors, horses, and chariots. The first pit was the most impressive. All of the pits now have roofs (they used to have smaller roofs but these have collapsed in the last two millennia. The terra cotta figures were all painted but as soon as they were exposed to air and light the paint disappeared. There were a few that they were able to preserve in time. (The ones featured were repainted to show what they would have looked like in all of their glory.)

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Xi’an, China

I’m currently in Xi’an (I know you never would have guessed based on the title of this post). The weather forecast is warmer than it was in Pingyao for which we are all grateful, however, it does list haze on my weather app so that’s fun….

We are staying in the old quarter which is surrounded by city walls. The city wall is about 14 km long and one is able to cycle along it. The city has beautiful drum and bell towers, each with performances throughout the day. Traditionally, the bell was rung in the morning and the drums were played in the evening. The city has less people than Beijing and less haze as well.

The Muslim quarter is full of food stalls and touristy shops. The food is a delight to try and includes things I can’t even begin to describe. They are famous for a beef sandwich though so I made sure to try one of those. A mosque that combines Muslim and Chinese styles lies at the heart of the area.

Near the south wall stalls are filled with paintings, jewelry, and calligraphy supplies. It’s a fun area to wander around.

This region is known for 8 distinctive characteristics as seen in a photo below. For instance, squatting to rest, putting a towel on one’s head, having “half slant” roofs, the women never leaving the area to marry, and using unusually large bowls.

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