Today was the day to see the Terra Cotta Warriors which was one of the two highlights of the trip for me (great wall being the other). Our meeting time was 8:50 am in the lobby but we ended up not leaving for 20 minutes due to stragglers.
The smog was horrible for most of the day so I wore a mask whenever outdoors until the late afternoon when it seemed to improve and I wasn’t coughing without it.
During the ride to our first stop, I took in the sights and found Xi’an more interesting than the areas we drove through in Beijing.
I was intrigued by the group of employees outside a store meeting outdoors before opening the business.
We passed many more street vendors in this city. Wonder what the trucks are selling?
If you know the name of the fountain in the picture above, please let me know. It is impressive!
Our first stop was going to be a Jade factory.
I assume the “factory” part is creating artwork from the stone. We had about a 15 minute informational spiel about jade and then of course had time to shop. The washrooms were terrible here (no western toilets or toilet paper).
I didn’t buy anything as it was quite pricey but there was free tea and a nice outdoors area to sit and wait.
We loaded up and headed off to the Terra Cotta Replication Center.
Replication Center and Lunch
This is really a sales area for terra cotta warrior souvenirs (plus the usual silk and jade and interestingly furniture!). I did buy a jade happy ball here.
It was interesting learning how the warriors were made.
After TOO much time for shopping we finally made it to the third floor which was where lunch was served. This was a really good lunch for several reasons. The food was good, it was a buffet with more than six choices and we could sit where we wanted instead of at assigned tables.
You can order your own life-size statue where they’ll put a replica of your face for a few thousand dollars.
We were supposed to be back on the bus at 1:30 but ended up leaving 20 minutes late due to someone making a last minute purchase.
Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses
This site is part of the the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang who was the first Emperor of unified China. It is now a museum heavily visited by Chinese and foreign tourists.
We had 1;30 pm tickets for the terra cotta warrior museum complex but had no problem arriving late. It was a 15 minute walk from where the bus dropped us off and another 20-25 minute walk back to the parking area afterwards.
Six to eight people had pre-reserved wheelchairs for 400 yuan. The wheelchairs and pushers were waiting for the bus when we parked. We first visited Pit 1 which was where the farmer digging a well found the warriors.
It has been excavated the most and is the largest pit.
It was amazing! I couldn’t get enough pictures.
Our city guide, Jason, then told us about the rest of the complex. The museum office building included a movie theatre where a film regarding the history of the site was on a continuous loop (very poor quality). This was where the gift shop and coffee shop were located as well. We were told to meet outside that at 5 pm.
Jason recommended we go through the museum next which has a large bronze collection from the Ba people. After that we should tour Pit 2 on the right side where you could view warriors close-up in glass exhibits. Lastly we exit this building and visit Pit 3 which is the smallest.
Pit 2 was smaller than the first but still grand in scale. There’s still a lot of work to be done here.
Pit 3 was very small compared to the first two with a lot of restoration to come in the future.
It was all interesting and an experience I will never forget. About 4:15 I was done with all the buildings (truthfully my feet were done) and headed to the coffee shop for a hot chocolate and a chair. I got to chat with other tour mates and our tour guide John while waiting.
We then walked back to the bus where the wheel chair riders had already boarded. There were shops and tourist attractions on the way.
Tour mate Doug made a video with his fabulous photography.
Now on to the evening events!
Don’t miss the previous China posts linked below.
Going to China (tour and visa)
China: Trip Preparations
November 12-13, 2016: Travel to Beijing
November 14, 2016: Beijing and Great Wall
November 14, 2016: Ming Tombs and Peking Duck Dinner
West International Trade Hotel Beijing
November 15, 2016: Hutong and Temple of Heaven
November 15, 2016: Tiananmen Square, Fobidden City and Beijing Opera
November 16, 2016: Pearl Factory and Summer Palace
November 16, 2016: Traveling to Xi’an