XI’AN (China) – city with the oldest army in the world!
It was my dream for a long time to see the famous Terracotta Army so I was very excited to have an opportunity to spend one long weekend in Xi’an, the capital city of the Shaanxi province.
Grey sky and high humidity welcome us upon our exit from airport hall. The city itself has approximately 8 million inhabitants and is spread out on a dusty plane, which makes it appear quite unattractive. Nonetheless, its History is surprisingly ancient, more than 4,000 years old! For a long time Xi’an was situated at the end of the Silk Road, providing a brief pause for the merchants and other pilgrims.
MY TOP MUST-SEE PLACE here is the TERRACOTTA ARMY.
Here are some interesting facts… this Army never went into battlefield! WHERE did an army of about 7,000 fighters come from? The Army is modeled from yellow clay and is unique in a sense that it was built as a defensive army for the extensive “necropolis” that suppose to protect the tomb of the DESPOTIC and certainly not completely normal ruler Qin Shi Huang.
MORE than 750, 000 people worked for more than 36 years on this unreasonable project. The Emperor tyrant was constantly obsessed about death, which he obviously couldn’t escape, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, all his concubines have been buried alive with him as well as workers who were building the necropolis for ages. The entire SECRET PROJECT was supposed to be hidden for an incredibly long time! In fact only recently in 1974 peasant has “unveiled” it!
QIN unified China about 2,200 years ago! For this entire time, all infantry, archers, officers, horses and wagons also remained waiting under the ground…always ready to defend their leader, even after his death. They still look the same, each of them keeping a unique facial expression; only the colors are faded which makes them a greyish appearance. This doesn’t seem to bother thousands of visitors from around the world who daily admire them.
GOOD TO KNOW. If you wish to visit the terracotta army, it’s surely more beneficial to wake up earlier. Traffic is important in the area and the journey lasts for at least an hour. It can also come in handy to have a local guide! The complex is enormous so all you need to find is a parking spot and the right waiting line for the tickets, which is not always easy in the stifling heat.
What else can you see in Xi’an?
- GIANT WILD GOOSE PAGODA – as a symbol of the old-line XI’AN. Originally built in 652 during the TANG DYNASTY.
- BELL TOWER and DRUM TOWER of XI’AN – are the symbols of the city! One of the grandest of its kind in China.
- THE CITY WALL – is massive, tall and long – 13.7 km, now! We even tried a biking tour – quite expensive but original and fun.
- SHAANXI HISTORY MUSEUM – it is great complex of buildings in Tang Dynasty architecture style. You can see a lot of unique materials of the ancient Chinese civilization.
Evening’s program was interesting! There was beautiful night scenery around the Bell Tower, watching the music fountain performances, just imagining how it used to be here a long time ago…how people lived and worked here.
Other thing you shall not miss is KTV (karaoke television). Local people love modern and popular KTV bars or disco clubs where they can sing and drink, having fun with friends and relatives. But we decided for more classical evening dance and music show in Shaanxi Opera House. It was so colorful and real cultural experience.
The local cuisine is not so famous like for example Sichuan cuisine. We tried cold noodles – served with sliced meat, sausages and greens. Typical traditional dish – Yang Rou Pau Mo – hot mutton soup is also very popular. Although my favorite and universal Chinese dish are the dumplings the dish from the popular Muslims Snack Street and it just tasted fantastic!
In the end I have to say that this short trip and an “appointment“ with silent warriors was really unique and unforgettable.