Day four: Terra-cotta Army

It was the first day in Xi’an and it was SNOWING! When we opening the windows, there was already a good inch or two on the ground with snow still coming down.

Snow doesn’t excite me like it used to. After four years in Hawaii, snow just brings a sense of dread. I think it’s cause I realized how crappy it is commuting in snow, or anything in particular.

We took the metro a short ways before deciding to finish the journey to the Terracotta army by taxi.

The roads were so terrible it took us almost two hours to drive.

But better safe than sorry — we saw four accidents en route. It was scary, and I considered asking to turn back because I wasn’t sure how much longer the snow would go on for. We kept going.

Finally, the taxi driver stopped at the end of a dirty-snow covered driveway and pointed down. We were to follow the path.


At the end, stood a tall statue of an emperor. We had made it. We followed the footprints in the snow to the ticket office and purchased our tickets.

The story goes that the Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 by some peasants who were digging a well. Imagine finding 7,000 soldiers when you’re out working one day.

The hundreds of life-size pottery figures, made from yellow clay, were designed to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, who unified China over 2,200 years ago.

Pit 1 as seen from above.

When we exited the ticket office we walked (in the snow) toward the entrance and Pit 1. There are three pits: pit 1 contains the infantry, pit 2 (still being excavated) is full of calvary and soldiers and pit 3 (partially excavated) so far contain 70 high ranking officers.


Upon walking in, it tough to get a good view as hundreds of people were crowded along the railing looking out at the pit. But when I got to the front of the mob, I was able to see what the big deal was.

I couldn’t help it, I let out a hushed wow.


I read in the travel book before we came that there were so many statues, but still — wasn’t expecting to be so amazed. I was impressed by the amount of soldiers there were, standing so still and somber. And the way the light was shining in from the big window by the entrance, I was getting a lot of angle choir vibes…

We continued to the left side of the first pit, as it was less crowded than the right. I was able to get a better view.

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En masse, the soldiers all look the same. Row after row, column after column, they stand side by side at attention. But actually, each soldier is different, with its own distinguishing feature.

It’s blurry, but you can see here the parts held together with line.

In Pit 1, I was surprised to see scientists or archeologists (I couldn’t tell), working on putting together more soldiers. A lot of these figures were found broken and there is a lot of work being done to try and restore them. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, all the kings horses and all the kings men are able to put these statues back together again.

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When we left Pit 1 we accidentally stumbled into Pit 3 before heading to Pit 2. While pits 2 and 3 don’t have as much to look at, that doesn’t mean they aren’t as amazing. They are still being excavated and hold even more clues into China’s past.

The rear of a kneeling archer with some of the original paint intact.

While there I learned so much about this world wonder. For example, when the soldiers were originally made they were originally painted in bright (almost tacky looking) colors. They also held a variety of weapons, which were made out of wood, that didn’t survive the test of time.

The trip to see the Terracotta army was a treacherous journey due to the weather, but in my opinion it was so worth it to see this (un)buried treasure.


2 thoughts on “Day four: Terra-cotta Army

  1. wow, your post is great, and the photos are amazing, really like it 🙂
    I found your little space in the community pool, so glad I did!! amazing write up!!!keep writing and inspire us….
    Please do visit my blog when time permits, thanks in advance and see you there!

    Liked by 1 person

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