Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors

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November 27th 2007
Published: November 27th 2007
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Arrival by trainArrival by trainArrival by train

The Xi'an train station is one of the busiest and most (so I'm told) pickpocket-heavy stations in China.
My first full weekend in Beijing I took a 12-hour overnight sleeper train Xi’an. John took a flight the same night traveling to give a promotional lecture for two new ‘New Channel’ schools being opened out side of Beijing. The second lecture was in Xi'an.

Though it does not come close to the size of Beijing, Xi'an is still a very big city with about 6-8 million people. It served as the Capitol of China for a long period.

Much of Modern Xi'an is still enclosed within the City Wall and surrounding moat; it is one of the only such city walls still in tact in China. Much of the city today is still contained within the city wall and surrounding moat. I took a long walk on the 40-foot tall and 30 foot wide wall, which gives you a fun and interesting birds' eye view of the city (though it was a bit hairy climbing the old and rusted 40-foot metal ladder up to the top of the wall).

There are several Temples in Xi’ian, including the Drum Temple and Buddha Temple. My favorite section of the city was the Muslim Quarter, where I felt like I
John & MeJohn & MeJohn & Me

In front of the lecture hall where New Channel is 'performing'. There were scalpers outside the front door who were trying to turn a profit on the $1.50 tickets being sold for the lecture.
had been transported back to the Muslim communities I spent time in while traveling in Cameroon, Central Africa. Everything was so alive, livestock everywhere, motorbikes, people cooking and eating in the streets, playing cards, kids running around. I have no pics of this area cause I was very conscious of not wanting to stand out as a tourist snapping photos (though I didn’t need to take any photos to accomplish that).

About 30 kilometers from Xi’an is the Terracota Warriors Museum and Mausoleum of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. These Warriors, commonly referred to as the '8th wonder of the world,' were discovered around 35 years ago by local farmers digging a well. The warriors were to be the guardians of the body of the emperor of the Qin Dynasty, whose tomb is less than a kilometer away. It is an army of over 8,000 stone warriors hand-sculpted and fully armed with swords, shields, chariots, warrior clothing. You hear about it and read about it in books, but it truly was breathtaking to see.

Two interesting facts about the warriors: the first is that each Warrior has distinct facial features--there are no two warriors that look
they came in numbersthey came in numbersthey came in numbers

There was upwards of 600 to 800 students attending this lecture, all wanting to study english at the school.
alike. It is speculated that for each stone warrior there was one real warrior sacrificed. In addition, when the tomb was uncovered all of the men's clothing was still in full color and the weapons were as if they had been made and sharpened yesterday. No rust or corrosion. Research has shown that in fact the Qin Dynasty had a very advanced understanding of metallurgical science, and that the weaponry sported by the warriors had been treated by special anti-corrosive elements. (remember we are talking about a people that lived over 2,000 years ago!).

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Here's Johnny!Here's Johnny!
Here's Johnny!

Here is John, I think at this point he is telling a story about his first time coming to China and how much food his host family gave him to eat (notice the backdrop).
Terracotta ArmyTerracotta Army
Terracotta Army

The archeological site-turned-museum. The initial digging up of the soldiers exposed their clothing to direct sunlight, which caused all of the clothing color to immediately fade.
Putting it back togetherPutting it back together
Putting it back together

Many of the warriors which were either destroyed by tomb raiders or crushed/deteriorated over time have been removed from the burial pits in order to piece them back together. It is a very eerie feeling standing toe to toe with these 2,200 year old soldiers.

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