If you’re looking at that miniature terracotta warrior on your office table, possibly a souvenir from one of your colleague’s visit to China, and wondered, “Where is this little man from?”
Well, wonder no more.
He can be found in Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi Province in Central China. And your little terracotta man, is not so little after all. He is, in fact, life-sized!
And there’s not just one of him. There are over 6,000 terracotta warriors on display in an area the size of an aircraft hangar, offering a sight that is beyond beggars belief. This site is actually the tomb of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang and these terracotta warriors (together with their horses and chariots!), which were carved out of clay, were part of his army and meant to protect him in the afterlife. Pretty swanky guy, wasn’t he?
The detailing on each warrior is so intricate and one does not look at all like the other. Plus, more than 2,000 years later, these warriors are still in excellent condition. It just goes to show how remarkable the craftsmanship of these artisans were.
This tomb was discovered by accident in 1974 when a bunch of oblivious farmers were digging a well about 1.5 kilometres from the tomb. They had no idea that they had stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world.
Upon the discovery, Chinese archaeologists were called to investigate where they began uncovering these warriors. The construction of the army started in 246 BC when Emperor Qin ascended the throne. It is believed that the construction took 40 years with over 720,000 builders.
Bet you didn’t know your little figurine had so much history attached to it, did you? Up close, these warriors are nothing short of incredible. So why don’t you head to Xi’an to see these clay marvels.
In case you’re wondering what else to do in Xi’an if you get all warrior-ed out, fret not cos there’s still lots of other fun activities.
Head to Muslim Quarter where the local Muslim Hui people congregate. There are 10 mosques to cater for the religious needs of the 20,000 Muslims here. Here, you must embark on a food trail for Xi’an is known for its mouth-watering street food.
Next, rent a bicycle and visit Xi’an City Wall, where you’ll be afforded spectacular views of the city if you choose to cycle the entire 14-kilometre loop of the wall.
A visit to Xi’an will not be complete without a visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (we’re sure it sounds a lot nicer in Mandarin!). Built during the Tang Dynasty in 652 CE, it’s highly possible that this is Xi’an oldest structure.
There’s a square at the foot of the pagoda with a musical fountain performance at 12.30pm and 8.30pm on weekdays while on weekends it goes on every two hours from 12pm to 9pm. You’ll also chance upon the locals practising their calligraphy skills at the square.
If we still haven’t convinced you, then watch this video:
Don’t miss this leg of #TheJourneyChina. Watch the Xi’an episode below and the rest of the series at http://bit.ly/thejourneychina.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Xi’an. Book your tickets now at airasia.com.