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China 3 – Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors

November 21, 2009

Xian has recently become world famous for a great archeological find, the Terra Cotta Army.  Some call this the Eighth Wonder of the World.  The Terra Cotta Army goes back to the time of China’s first true emperor, Qin Shi Huang (ruled 259-210BC).  The Q is pronounced “ch” so Qin sounds like “chin” and China takes its name from him.  Emperor Qin made it his mission to conquer the neighboring states and eventully became the emperor of the large unified area we know as China.  

A Terra Cotta Warrior


Qin was a relatively brutal man and believed he could be in for trouble in the after-life.  So, he had a terra cotta army built to protect him in the next world.  This army was found 30 some years ago but the full scale of the find has emerged only after years of digging.  Today, they have found 8,000+ warriors standing over 6 feet tall as well as hundreds of horses, chariots.  The scale of these digs is staggering!  

The Terra Cotta Army


After all the hiking around the Terra Cotta Army site, we enjoyed a wonderful evening meal, a special Tang dumpling dinner with entertainment from the Tang Dynasty period.  They served 18 different kinds of dumplings (many shaped like animals) and they were all excellent.  The show had gorgeous costumes, graceful dancers and pleasant music.  

The Dumpling Dinner


Tang Dynasty Performers


Xian was first settled around 5,000 BC and was the capital from around 1,000BC – 1,000AD.  It served as a major link on the Great Silk Road, linking many of the great cities of China to the Middle East and Europe.  While we were there it was undergoing a major transformation.  Construction was all around us and the streets were filled with bicycles, cars and people.  Bicycles haul everything in Xian… office furniture, people, produce for the local markets, etc.  We stayed in a beautiful, new hotel in the old part of town, inside the old wall.  The original town had a great wall and moat surrounding it.   

The Streets of Xian


The second evening in Xian we walked across the moat to a side-walk restaurant lit by glowing orange Chinese lanterns.  The ambiance was out of a movie.  As it turned out, this was another guessing game for food as nobody spoke English and the menu was in Chinese.  We saw some pictures so we thought we were ordering meat on a spit – we got something that more resembled roasted entrails.  It was like chewing leather and the taste was unpleasant.  However, the can of Coke was just fine.  We went with another couple (who were more discriminating eaters than we were) so this was a challenge.  The waiters never delivered most of the food… and, after tasting what we got, we were OK with that.  They eventually brought out a bill.  We each paid $3-4 and got out of there.  It was another one of those nights where we had snack bars for the evening meal.

Bicycles Haul Everything in Xian


8 Comments leave one →
  1. seth clark permalink
    November 21, 2009 7:05 pm

    great look to your site. megan and I will have to explore starting one of these. nice photos of the family and china!!

  2. November 25, 2009 7:31 pm

    The Terra Cotta Army! I am jealous! I really wanted to see this on my trip out there, but we didn’t get to go! I guess I will just have to check it out the next time I go over there!

    • November 26, 2009 10:59 am


      Good to hear from you. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy those around you, smile and laugh a lot.


    • December 10, 2009 12:47 pm

      M, Thanks for your comment. The Terra Cotta site is difficult to relate to… it is so large. I pity the poor people who had to work on this so one ruler could have a grave site up to his standards. You were in China… where did you go?

  3. Heartafire permalink
    January 25, 2013 9:02 am

    Fascinating reading!

    • January 25, 2013 9:45 am

      Thanks! The trip to China was awesome. We are very flexible on food and will try just about anything… a necessary attitude if you want to enjoy a trip like this. As it turned out, there were many foods we like but they were nothing like “Chinese” food in the U.S. Thanks for your comments!!

  4. January 31, 2013 7:45 am

    Ironically, I received a picture of the clay soldiers from a blogger in response to my haiku “stone soldiers”, it is a treat to learn more about them. Thank you!

    • January 31, 2013 6:19 pm

      It is a world of coincidences … thanks for sharing the comment. And keep up the poetry. Words can be dessert for the soul.

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