Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

Running_With_Wolves_Rhea_Wolvekamp_Xi'an_Terracotta_Warriors_2014_London_01
One of China’s ancient cities, Xi’an is vibrant, busy and definitely worth the trip. Framed by an old city wall over which you can walk or cycle all around the old city centre, allowing for great views and a traffic and hassle free journey.

Charming little restaurants, great hostels and beautiful pagodas, the city is lovely and feels much smaller and more personal than other big cities in China. Not to mention that other big attraction of Xi’an, something about a Terracotta army?


About an hour and a half outside of Xi’an lie the Terracotta Warriors; an army made of to protect Qin Emperor in the afterlife. It was discovered by a father and son who were digging a well in their garden about a kilometre and a half from what later would be discovered was Qin Emperor’s tomb at the foot of mount Li (LiShan)

For centuries, pieces of terracotta figures, fragments of roofing tiles, bricks and chunks of masonry were found but these were disregarded as worthless and used along with mud to close back up the digging pits.

There are 3 large pits, all equally ugly but housing the beautifully detailed figures. They all differ in height; shape and size depending on their roles and the all look different from one to another. Not only did the army consist of more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses but non-military figures like officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians were found of which the majority remained buried in pits closer to the Emperors mausoleum.

The warriors are impressive but walking around the pits is impersonal as you can only view them from above and from afar. You will also have to make your way though the masses of (Chinese) tourists and strangely enough, you are apparently not allowed to take pictures.

Nevertheless, a visit to the impressive Terracotta warriors is a must when in China and is great when combined with a few days in Xi’an.

Leave a reply