Location: Xi’an,Shaanxi Province, China
Visited: December 28, 2009
Opinion and Background:
This is more spectacular than the Great Wall of China. I thought I’d start this blog on a good note. Seeing thousands of clay soldiers with different expressions, clothes, hair styles and even different shoes leaves a person speechless. Some of the more amazing ones are in individual exhibits in the same complex. The terracotta army is as good as advertised, and definitely worth a look. The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, thought that by building this army, he could be protected in the afterlife. The army was never meant to be displayed and was buried along with his body. It wasn’t discovered until 1974, even though they were buried in the 3rd century BC. Despite their dull color now, the Terracotta Warriors were originally painted by hand, evident in some of the more preserved soldiers. This particular emperor is the first to unify China as a whole, as well as the first to attempt to build parts of what is now known as The Great Wall of China.
1) Completeness and Originality 10/15: These are all originals and the ones that remain are in amazing condition. However, the museum boasts three “pits” of soldiers, but only the first one (the one in the pictures with the soldiers lined up) has them complete. While the other two are mostly rubble, this first one is enough.
2) Extensiveness of the Site (7/15): This site is not as big as it seems. You want to spend most of your time in the first pit, since its the one with the most soldiers that aren’t broken. However, it still takes about 3 hours to see it all if you are being thorough and even more if you can read the Mandarin inscriptions.
3) Cultural Significance (23/25): This emperor not only unified China for the first time ever, and started building the great wall, but build this amazing monument in a futile attempt to cheat death. What is more amazing is that this army was hidden from all mankind for more than 2000 years! It is a testament of the beginnings of China as a superpower, an honor it has till this day.
4) Personal Impact (15/15): Mind, blown.
5) Logistics (7/10): While I didn’t plan the visit myself, a tour company did scam us trying to get here, saying they make a stop at the Terracotta Army and wasted three precious hours. In addition, there are no signs or official tour guides in English, and only non-official guides were available to translate for 50 RMB a person. The entrance was 40RMB (8 USD) so it is a good value and public transportation easily drops you off right in front (if you figure it out ahead of time, as nothing is in English). It is also not very crowded. I had lots of time in the first pit with just a hand full of people.
6) Uniqueness (18/20): Mausoleums do exist in other parts of the world, but nothing like this.
Combined Score: 80/100
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2) Google Map
4) UNESCO Entry