The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses is the main attraction tour in the city of Xian, it is a group of more than 8,000 life-size soldiers, 670 horses and chariots made out of terracotta. The Terracotta Army are a UNESCO site and were first discovered by farmers in 1974, today more than 40,000 visitors come to see them each day. But where did they come from and what is their significance?
Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China and established the Qin Dynasty, marking the beginning of 2000 of feudal rule. The soldiers were created to be buried with him and guard him in his afterlife. The construction started approximately in 246BC and more than 7,000 artisans and workmen were employed to produce them. When construction of the emperor’s mausoleum began the emperor was only 13 but by the time he died almost an entire kingdom had been recreated to be buried with him. His army was placed in vaults about 1.5km from the Emperor’s tomb or mausoleum. It is believed that the underground palace remained intact for all these years thanks to traps and schemes set up to deter grave-robbers.
The soldiers are not all identical, each has unique facial expressions, hair styles, posture and their height ranges from 183 to 195cm. there are standing infantry soldiers, kneeling archers, cavalry and officers. The figures were originally painted but the paint has worn off almost completely revealing the terracotta. Other figures included in the group are officials, strongmen, musicians, acrobats, chariots and farm animals like goats and pigs. Also on display in the museum are two bronze chariots which were discovered nearby, they each have 4 horses, complete with bridles and saddles.
The Terracotta Army is located about 30km from Xian, they are within 3 pits each 4-8 meters deep; Pit 1 is the largest and most impressive while Pits 2 and 3 are often thought less interesting and could be left off of a tourist itinerary. Before entering the site visitors get to see a 360° movie in English about the background of the Terracotta Army, the movie lasts 15 minutes and is included in your entrance ticket. Also included in the ticket is a visit to the nearby Qin Shihuang Mausoleum which is not yet excavated. Archeologists predict that even greater wonders remain to be discovered in the mausoleum, including rivers of quicksilver, treasures and a palace.
China is a major travel destination which most Westerners only manage to visit once or twice in a lifetime, so naturally you want to see as much as possible with the time you have there. If you’re visiting Beijing it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on seeing one of China’s most important historic sites – Xian and the Terra-cotta Warriors. Even if you are short on time you can still get away from Beijing for the day and see the major sites of Xian, but only if you are part of an organized tour. If you try to make a one day trip to Xian independently you will be faced with the logistics of transport which could take up too much of your limited time. With an organized one day tour to Xian you can be sure to see Xian and be back by the end of the day. An organized one day tour to Xian will also insure that you fit in all the amazing sites of Xian and don’t return to Beijing disappointed.
The one day tour to Xian begins at your Beijing hotel where you will be picked up by the guide and transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Xian. With an organized one day tour to Xian the flight tickets, transport to and from your Beijing hotel and the tours in Xian are all included in the price, organized and booked for you.
After a short 2 hour flight your guide will get you swiftly through Xian airport security and you will be met by a local Xian guide and driver. Without further ado you’ll be driven to the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses. The tour guides are all well informed about the sites and speak good English. Just think, no negotiating with taxi drivers or struggling to make yourself understood as you try to buy tickets to the exhibit. Your tickets to the sites are also included in your one day tour to Xian. You can learn about the UNESCO World Heritage Xian Terra-cotta Warriors, their history which dates back to 221-206BC and their discovery in 1975 by watching a short film at the Cinemania.
After your visit to the Terra-cotta Warriors you will be taken to a local restaurant for lunch (which is also included in the tour price). This particular tour takes you to a typical local restaurant and avoids the usual tourist restaurants which are over run with tourists. Enjoy a delicious meal at the Ai Qin Hai restaurant before being taken to see the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The guide stays with you until you are safely checked in on your return flight to Beijing and on arrival in the capital a driver will be waiting to take you back to your hotel.
Don’t miss out on seeing the 8th wonder of the world, even if you’re based in Beijing a one day tour to Xian is possible and an unforgettable experience.