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Xian - The Teracotta Warriors

Written on: Saturday August 1st, 2009

A journal entry from: London to Beijing overland!!

After leaving Lanzhou we drove as far as we could trying to make the next days drive to Xian a little less painless. The weather has turned a bit and as we drove along for most of the day it is raining but still humid and warm enough.  It was almost impossible to find a bush camp along the way as most of the land is being cultivated for some type of crop, it seems like mostly potatoes, carrots and other vegetables.  The only option we had and it was the best thing we had seen in about an hour was underneath a 2 lane overpass, luckily it wasn't a main highway or anything and was actually a road that led to a quarry. 

It wasn't the prettiest place we have camped, it was dry, it would be perfect.  And it it was our last one for the trip!

We arrived in Xian fairly late and after sorting the rooms in a decent hotel a few of us ventured into the main centre of town for Pizza Hut!!  It was the first time we had had pizza since Turkey and although not as good as the turkish pizzas it still wasn't bad.

Xian is the one of the only chinese citys that still has a fully intact city wall.  It is in really good condition and wraps around the centre of the city measuring about 8km by 6km.  As we only had 2 nights here before heading on the train to Beijing, the main attraction to go and see was The Terracotte Warriors.  We caught the local bus out to the site which is about 1 hour from Xian.  The warriors were only discovered in 1973 by a couple of locals who were digging down for a well.  They dug straight into the corner of pit 1, which is where the biggest number of terracotta warriors have been found.  There are now 3 pits that have been excavated with work still ongoing in all of them.  It is said that they were laid there to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin, whose tomb is behind the warriors within a large hill.  The tomb isn't opened yet and they don't know if they ever will because it covers such a large area, it would destroy homes and villages.

Pit 1 is approx 200 metres by 60 metres and it is a bit of grand sight to look out and see all these life size men standing in battle formation staring back at you. They have so far uncovered 2,000 warriors and predict there will be 6,000 in total in pit 1 alone. Parts of the pit still are covered by the original roof which was wooden beams covered by matting and then soil on top.  In this pit they are mostly low ranking soldiers and there are horses mixed up amongst the warriors as well, standing 4 in a line they once had wooden chariots behind but most of the chariots have decomposed over time. 

Pit 2 was a lot smaller and pit 3 although it was very large was hardly excavated at all and there was nothing uncovered.  They had a museum there and are few other dislays.  The whole place is massive and it really is a big bloody tourist show, from where you buy the ticket to get in and the actual entrance is a  1 km walk.  There would be over a hundred shops inbetween and even KFC has managed to get in there!

We are now heading off to Beiing on the night train, it shoud be about 12 hours and although we were meant to have sleepers our guide couldn't arrange them.  Mainly because we are in China and everything seems to be difficult!  We will also be splitting away from the group visa and trying to get our own visa to leave the country with, should be fun!  And saying goodbye to the group.......

Bye for now

 Russ and Heather



From maur on Aug 7th, 2009

Hey Guys thanks for the pc. It must be so sad finishing this wonderful adventure. Take a long rest on a beach somewhere I reckon. We are in and around Singapore for the first week of September.Where will you be then? Love Maur

From Em and Red on Aug 12th, 2009

Cant believe KFC has made it there - what a shame.