The 2200-year-old Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, China were only discovered 1974 by a peasant farmer. Commissioned by the despotic Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, some 7000 Terracotta statues were constructed over 36 years by up to 700 000 people; buried with the Emperor to protect him in the afterlife. To prevent the tomb from becoming public knowledge, his concubines and workers were buried alive with him when he died.
Now that they’ve been uncovered, the incredible Terracotta Warriors are available to be viewed by the public. Each weighing over 300 kg, some 7000 life-size warriors are positioned in military formation in three pits in a modern protective hangar in the Chinese city of Xi’an. Originally they bore spears and swords, which have long since rotted away. However, some small traces of the original paintwork still remains on the bodies of these ancient, silent warriors. Incredibly, no two warriors are alike.
Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi province, with a history stretching back some 3000 years. Having served as the capital city of 13 different dynasties, Xi’an is listed as one of the four main capitals in China, and also marks the eastern end of the legendary Silk Road. Surrounded by a spectacular wall that was constructed in the 14th century, one can easily take a stroll or bike-ride across the top of it without any trouble. It was the Terracotta Warriors that really put Xi’an on the map for western travellers, but there are plenty of other attractions, including the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower and the Shaanxi Museum, the artefacts of which trace Xi’an’s history from its earliest beginnings.
On the Go Tours are currently running specials on two tours that visit Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors. Check out the Specials Page for full details.