Terracotta warriors Army, a marvel of China

China contains treasures of history. The army of terracotta warriors, the tomb of the venerable emperor Qin, is one of its jewels


That was 246 years BC, a very long time ago in China. The women probably had small feet, the men had long swords and the lords wore large dresses and improbable headdresses decorated with twirling pearls. At that time, death and trip in the afterlife were, as today, a subject that was conducive to all beliefs and fears. The emperor Qin, all-powerful on earth but nevertheless mortal, was very anxious about what would happen to him after death. In China, one does not skimp on means, this supreme ruler simply had a terracotta army built to ensure protection and honour to the kingdom of the dead. It took more than 40 years and 720,000 workers to complete the mausoleum. However, the tomb of the imperator is located in a pyramidal room still keeps all its secrets and the warriors exposed represent only a tiny part of what was placed in the mausoleum. It is therefore a historical site which has not yet revealed all its secrets and will certainly deserve to return to it in a few years time…

The tomb of Qin and his warriors is an exceptional historical site which is worth all the efforts


Such a moving visit is not so frequent. The terracotta warriors have a certain power to bewitch the visitor. What a scenery! The beauty of the statues is striking. What finesse, what precision! None of them are similar. They all have different faces, each as pure and delicate as the next.
It is an impressive sight. One must imagine that what can be seen here represents only a tiny part of the army that was supposed to watch over the Qin emperor in the afterlife. They have been waiting here for more than 2000 years. Foot soldiers, archers, officers, chariot drivers and horses are here, impassive and magnificent. They seem to be waiting for a miracle that will bring them to life, like in fantasy films. They are ready to march, to bend their bows, strong and faithful, answering the call of the great emperor, the very first, the one who unified China more or less 2495 years ago.

This is a spectacle that imposes silence. Strangely enough, one never tires of scrutinising the faces, the details, the pose, the armour, but above all, the eyes of the soldiers, impassive but so alive. 
You don’t need to be a history buff to fall under the spell of this thousand-year-old work. To brave the perpetual parade of tourists following their guide at the pace of the charge, the noise and the jostling: it is all worth it. 

The terracotta warriors, like all tourist attractions, are victims of their success


I went to this archaeological site with great apprehension. The reports of the travellers gleaned from the encounters were not very engaging, most visitors were disappointed. The Terracotta Warriors are considered to be the largest archaeological site in the world, no less. But I’ve been to enough “exceptional” places to know that some of the attractions fall far short of their reputation. 

So what happened? I show up early and in a good mood to catch the first bus to the mausoleum from XiAn station. Impossible to miss them, they are decorated with… terracotta warriors. 

A little struggle is necessary to reach the pits where the terracotta warriors are standing

Although I am among the first visitors, a compact crowd is already waiting front of the entrance. The site consists of 3 pits in which the warriors are lined up. The great spectacle takes place in pit n°1: 2000 warriors in armour, life-size await the visitor.

A few minutes are enough to understand the disappointment of some visitors. The crowd gathers around the windows and corridors, as dense as glu. It takes a great deal of patience, infinite I would say, to finally be able to bend over and admire them. You have to make your way through the forest of outstretched arms armed with smartphones, wait for the end of the selfies session in the rush and the jostling. It is not easy to take your time for the visit, the pressure is constant. China has a very special relationship with politeness. Let’s be clear, the Chinese are neither considerate nor respectful of others in the middle of the crowd.

You will also have to persevere to admire the terracotta soldiers. They can be admired from above, the route that the visitor must follow overhangs the 210 m long and 62 m wide pit: an aeroplane hangar, bigger than a football field… 
The site is protected by a huge roof, the light is therefore passable and protection obliges, they are far away!

So many historical and architectural wonders to discover while traveling!

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