Everybody knows about the Terracota Warriors. It is one of the most famous historical sites in China and in the world. They were buried with emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210 BC and there are over 8000 different soldiers. But I'm not going to explain all the history of it because it is all over the internet if you want to learn more. I'll tell you my experience and illustrate it with tons of pictures.
This is my third year in China, so I've seen my fair share of temples and historical places. I've been to the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace in Beijing, to the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi province and to many others I've posted here. With the Bingmayong 兵马俑, as they are called in Chinese, it was different. You see, in China the concept of restoring is completely different to what I am used to in the West. In China people want to see something that looks shiny and new. Basically, almost everywhere you go in China what you see is not the original item or building, but a replica. Every few years walls are repainted or simply torn down and rebuilt from the ground. It looks exactly like it did thousands of years ago, at least they say it does, but it's not "it". You never know what is real and what is not.
The warriors are different.
Here you see the authenticity.
The statues are in a big complex, surrounded by a three story museum, gift shop and cafeteria. It's like Disneyland, but with even more people, depending on the time of year you go. They even have something like Downtown Disney or Citywalk outside. They have the whole theme park thing planned out.
There are basically three main buildings, each one with an excavation pit of its own. The army was found by a farmer digging a well in 1974 and since then much more things have been found.
The main pit is #1 and as soon as you walk in you see an infinity of soldiers. It is a grandiose site. Each of the warriors in a slightly different position holding their now invisible weapons (some were made of wood and rotted away in the last 2000 years, the others were looted).
When they found the site, I assume that the warriors were all in bit and pieces and little by little throughout the years they have been putting humpty dumpty together again. Now, upfront you see the completely restored pieces, but if you look closely there are still many yet to be fixed.
I love the fact that that as you walk around the pit you can actually see the statues being restored. The technology used seems pretty simple. No super machines. Just tape and glue. Or so it seems.
Pit number 2 was actually the first one to be found. It has some chariots and is still mostly unexcavated. The hole where the well was being dug in 1974 is actually still there, as are several other holes dug by grave robbers.
The last and smallest pit is the command post. Here are the highest ranking officers and a war chariot.
There is a fourth pit that has been excavated, but that one was empty. It is thought that it was left unfinished.
This place is just amazing and is totally worth a visit. Take your time to look and go there in the coldest day of winter with adverse weather to avoid the crowds. It's worth it.
Pro tip: from Xi'an, most taxis charge 200 yuan for a one-way trip to the site, that is several kilometers away from town. So that's 60 dollars dead. Right outside the Xi'an train station there is bus 306 that takes you straight to the warriors and only costs 7 yuan, that's a little over ONE DOLLAR. In 40 minutes you are there. Way cheaper than a taxi and no fuss.