Day 2: Terra Cotta Museum
The second day of the trip we went to visit the Terra Cotta museum where we would learn about all the history of the clay sculptures of the armies in the museum.
The Terracotta Army, aka Terracotta Warriors and Horses, are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province.
Let me start off by giving you a quick history about the army, upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. It is also rumored that the people hired to build and bury the mausoleum were all killed in order to preserve the secrecy of where it was. Some locals even claim that the museum was built in order to confuse enemies into thinking that there was a massive army waiting to slaughter them when they charged into their territory, i’m not sure how true this is or if it is just a folk tale but I personally believe this is an ingenious idea.
A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists
immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin
Dynasty (211-206 BC). Most of the statues have major damage because of the many years they have been buried and most of them got destroyed during their unearthing.
We were taught about the different roles of the different sculptures and why they were created and I found it fascinating that the museum has been preserved so well for thousands of years and the Chinese government is really astonishing when it comes to taking care of historical places for decades. I believe this is the only country in the world that takes historical and cultural monuments so seriously and respectfully, the preservation of historical monuments in China is of no comparison with any other country that I have traveled to and it would do many countries good to bench mark on their methods of preservation in order to attract more tourists
After the Terra Cotta museum we went to the Shaanxi History Museum where we got to see all the inscriptions on the walls that have been there for thousands of years and it was an educational experience.
After the long walk around the mausoleum, we went to have lunch then set about going for a tour around the wall around the city the best way you can, with couple bicycles(that you rent on site) which was in no way an easy feat， but the view
from the top of the wall was well worth it. You can see all of the city below from the top and the mountains do not make for a bad picture as well.
After a day well spent walking around and learning and soaking in history we wanted to paint the town red, we decided to go out and explore once again the small town at night and managed to find a few
bars open and because of the large amount of tourists that pour into the town the bar promoters were all over the streets trying to lure us into each of their bars with promises of a good time, alcohol and music, which we got in spades. We ended up in a small pub which served foreign bear and offered us an opportunity to play our own music and even sing up on the stage if we wanted to.
Xian is definitely a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China