Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors in the Shaanxi province of China. Discovered by a farmer digging a well (the poor guy probably never saw a cent of the millions China have made from tourism) in 1974 in Xian, 3 pits containing over 8500 soldiers and horses, protect Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.
There are plenty of guides and tours you can take, if you want to spend the money. Craig and I decided to go at it alone and take the bus, 1 hour out of the city. As we arrived at 9am we were swarmed with women wanting to take us on tours around the place. “120yuan for 2 hours!” they shouted. What they don’t tell you is that they’ll take you around in a huge group (wearing bright orange hats of course) – something we’re not fans of.
Pit number 1 contains the majority of soldiers and a few horses scattered here and there. It was amazing and is often called the 8th wonder of the world. It certainly is something you do a double take on. The sheer amount of them and the way they’re placed in the pit is very special, something no camera can capture.
Pit 2 contains the chariots and horses. Unfortunately they’re that not visible and very much buried under the original roofing of the tombs. A little disappointing.
Pit 3 is considered the command centre, housing the generals and commanders. Here we saw the usual terra cotta soldiers/generals with horses guarding the entrances.
We travelled over 1100km in China to come and see the Terra Cotta Warriors and it was well worth it. I’d recommend it to anyone visiting China, especially if you’re into archaeology.
Excavating of the soldiers is ongoing, so as you walk around you’ll see scientists working on the site. As you get to these parts you’re strictly told that no photography is allowed. Odd? We took pictures anyway. What do they have to hide?
At times we felt that the Chinese had something to hide, some soldiers were immaculate considering they’re over 2000 years old, and in one area I was told off for filming. Worried all my pics would be taken off my SD card, I quickly hid the camera.
You can tell some of the soldiers have been ‘placed’ for effect, but overall it’s a great experience and an amazing place to visit.