Jumped the plane to Xian home of the Terracotta warriors. It was interesting, Xian has a huge Muslim population. In fact china has a large muslim population. When the Silk road was in full swing there was a lot of trading with the Middle Eastern countries. Eventually a large muslim population sprung up. It went underground during Mao’s cultural revolution but is now back and strong. There was the Muslim quarter right in front of my hotel. A warren of shops.
Did a day tour out to the Terracotta warriors. They were found by a farmer digging a well. He now comes along to sign autographs of books on the warriors. Saw him there ( I reckon they just wheel any old really old guy to sign autographs to sell more books). The complex is large so many farmers in the area were put out of business, so the government build them new houses and then allowed then to build a tourist complex (restaurants, shops…) outside the terracotta halls so they could earn money. Needless to say, they are all very rich now.
The warrior were created to be the afterlife army of Emperor Qin Huang. He was very worried about his afterlife so spend more than 10 years preparing for his death. He build an entire city underground as his mausoleum which was never meant to be used except in his afterlife. It has high levels of mercury running through the soil, so now you can’t even enter it.
The warriors were sculptured to all be different. There are commanders, infantry, Calvary, archers. It is an entire army made of terracotta. All horses and chariots and real weaponry. They all face the mausoleum of the emperor waiting for his orders. There is an outside line of guards facing out around the army to protect them. There are over 10,000 warriors, but the majority still arent restored. There are many more underground waiting to be restored piece by piece. They made moulds of the soldiers and then created the faces for the clay warriors.
They were originally placed in large long trenches with earth and brick walls and wooden roofs to protect them. They were then nearly forgotten about. During a change of dynasties, some one tried to burn them all. It burnt the rafters which collapsed and smashed the terracotta warriors. Hence the restoration work. They were originally painted different colours, but as they were dug up and exposed to air and light the colour fainted in a matter of days, That is why they have not excavated the other thousands of warriors.
Definitely a highlight of the trip.