Thursday 17 August 2006
Highlights: Terracotta Warriors
We go into Xi’an early in the morning after managing around 5 hours sleep in my clothes during our overnight travel (and I like everyone had sweated in their clothes). We immediately headed off to see the Terracotta Warriors arriving there just before the doors opened at 8 am.
The Warriors were discovered by accident in 1974 and they were created around 2,200 years ago for the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang and it took 37 years to create. There are over 6,000 life sized sculptures each with different faces. Originally they were painted but once exposed to air it takes less than 1 hour for the paint to disappear (the wooden weapons have long since gone).
The locals call this the 8th wonder of the world and I’d probably have to agree. Qin Shi Huang’s tomb still has not been opened as there is no way to do this at present without destroying the tomb (this appears to be the original plan to keep people out). At times you would swear that the warriors are looking right at you. Apparently it took over 400,000 people to work on this project.
Back in Xian we all headed quickly for a long shower and a change of clothes. During the evening I witnessed the locals out in mass just enjoying the colder (i.e. 30 degree) weather at night. The city looks great at night, very modern but with ancient buildings standing side by side.