Monday, September 23, 2013

Xi'an

On August 16, we arrived in Xi'an - the end of the Silk Road. The main attraction in Xi'an is the Terra Cotta Soldiers which I have been looking forward to seeing. We had 3 nights here to catch up on some sleep and have one day of sight seeing. 

On the only day we went sightseeing, our first stop was the City Wall - which is the most complete city wall survived in China. The wall was built in two parts - the first part built during the old Tang Dynasty (618-907). The second part came when Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) enlarged the wall, building the walls higher to fortify the city. Today, the newer part of the city is outside the City Wall as opposed to the original city that sits inside the walls.

Starting our short walk

Looking outside the wall - torn down houses with satellites still up!

I think people are still living in these houses

Paul's checking out what's down below...no, not a fire or Steven Segal

Just trash!

Looking back towards where we walked from

Door obsession continues

We didn't walk all the way around - it would have taken too long

But we walked enough to get some good shots

Check out the wall

Here's another viewpoint

I'm surprised this isn't the China flag

Our next stop was to visit the Terra Cotta soldiers (and horses) about 35 km away east of Xi'an. In March 1974, about 1.5 km from the Qin Mausoleum, four farmers stumbled across a vault of the Terra-cotta Army. This army was created by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (the first emperor of China) and buried with him to protect him in the after life. Eventually this museum was built around the entire site. We were only allowed to visit two of the unearthed pits. There are many more that are still underground but in order to preserve the soldiers and horses from deteriorating, they leave them underground. The ones that have been unearthed are restored by a team of archaeologists. Each soldier is unique - there aren't any two that are the same.

Pit #1 at 230m long and 62m wide contains more than 6000 figures

The details of each soldier is really amazing

Closer shot

And even closer - can you see each face is different?

Here are soldiers with their horses

To the right is the location of where the farmers discovered the terra cotta soldiers

Just rows and rows of them

Despite the pit being this large, it was super crowded and hard to walk around!

This guy's got long arms

Hello

A shot from behind

You can see that some of them are missing heads

This area is where the archaeologists restore the figures


Up close and personal

Whoa, Nelly!

The location of the mausoleum and site is very feng shui because of
the surrounding mountains and such

This is the last of the four farmers who discovered the army...
he wrote a book and signs them here in the gift shop

The kneeling archer

This is a chrome plated sword created in 200 BC - the Germans invented this technology in 1937 and the Americans in 1950 - pretty amazing

All the soldiers and horses were painted too - but the color disappears from oxidation

This is the bronze chariot for the Emperor (Number 2 Chariot)

Hey, look at us - we're one of the soldiers!

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