Arguably one of China¡¯s most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta Warriors (bingmayong) are among the top archaeological excavations of the 20th Century. The warriors have made Xian the biggest tourist destination today and the wealth in this city owes much to their discovery. This incredible collection of 6,000 men and their horses was actually discovered completely by accident by a group of peasants in 1974 who were digging a well! In a bizarre twist, the man who supposedly discovered them now sits in a hall at the site signing postcards of the stone army.
The warriors are over 2,000 years old and were originally constructed to protect the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The Warriors are now housed in a huge airplane hangar and despite their fame and the throngs of tourists visiting the site, they are still incredibly impressive. These life size warriors stand on guard as if preparing for battle. Historians believe that these magnificent men were originally painted. The paint has now worn and the original bronze age weapons (including swords, arrows and lances) that many of the soldiers carried only a few years ago, are now locked up away from public eyes. Although there are 6,000 of the statues remaining, there were actually many more when the tomb was first built.
It is the scale of this collection that is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the site. The Emperor must have been an incredibly influential and impressive man to deserve this great protection even after his death! The faces of the warriors are said to be modeled on the artists who sculpted them and on the actual Imperial guards at that time.
Further discoveries were made in 1976 when another 1,000 warriors and various other sculptures were dug up. Archaeologists also believe that there is possibly a larger and more impressive army still buried beneath the Emperor¡¯s tomb.
Photography is forbidden here and if caught, the guards will confiscate your film. So watch out!
How to get there: The easiest way to get to the warriors is to take an Eastern tour from Xian. It is worthwhile having a tour guide talk you through the site as the stories that accompany the warriors are particularly interesting. Alternately, you can take the Green Bus from the Bell Tower in Xian which covers the major sites in the east. There is no tour guide on this bus however; or you could take bus No. 306, 307 at the gateway of the railway station to get there. (To Huaqing Pool on the way)
1. You¡¯ d better travel by yourself to avoid visiting some artificial scenic spots without any value.
2. In the famous spots of ¡¯3 Holes¡¯ ¡¯1 Hall¡¯, the bronze carriage and horse is very precious, so you may listen to the guide¡¯s explanation about it, by reason that there is no any literal introduction. Besides, you should pay for RMB 30 guide fee; If you think it is not to your profit, you could also follow other travelling teams.
Cost: RMB 90 (RMB 65 during the slack season, e.g. Dec., Jan., Feb.)
Opening hours: 8:00-17.30