Search This Blog

22 Nov 2015

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

Xian [西安] • 22 NOVEMBER 2014 
The Terracotta Army is one of the top attractions in China you must visit. But who discover the Terracotta Army? Terracotta Army Discovered in China (1974): On March 29, 1974, three farmers were drilling holes in the hopes of finding water to dig wells when they came upon some ancient terracotta pottery shards. It didn't take long for news of this discovery to spread and by July a Chinese archaeological team began excavating the site.

What these farmers had discovered was the 2200-year-old remains of a life-sized, terracotta army which had been buried with Qin Shihuangdi, the man who had united the varied provinces of China and thus became the very first emperor of China (221-210 BCE).

Even before Qin Shihuangdi unified China, he began building his own mausoleum nearly as soon as he came to power in 247 BCE at age 13. It is believed that it took 700,000 workers to build what became Qin Shihuangdi's necropolis and that when it was finished, he had all 700,000 workers buried alive within it to keep its intricacies a secret. The terracotta army was found just outside of this tomb complex, near modern-day Xi'an in the Shaanxi province.

The terracotta army consists of over 8,000 soldiers of varying ranks. Each one is life-sized and unique. The details in the faces and hairstyles as well as clothing and arm positioning make no two terracotta soldiers alike. When placed, each soldier also carried a weapon; however either time or tomb robbers have removed these. Each soldier had also been painted but as each one is unearthed by archaeologists, the remaining paint unfortunately crumbles off the figures. All the soldiers have been placed facing east, standing in battle formations.
In addition to the terracotta soldiers, there are full-sized, terracotta horses and several war chariots.

In the spring of 1974, farmers in Shaanxi Province, China were digging a new well when they struck a hard object. It turned out to be part of a terracotta soldier.

Soon, Chinese archaeologists realized that the entire area outside of the city of Xian (formerly Chang an) was underlain by an enormous necropolis; an army, complete with horses, chariots, officers and infantry, as well as a court, all made of terracotta.

The farmers had discovered one of the world's greatest archaeological wonders - the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.

What was the purpose of this magnificent army? Why did Qin Shi Huangdi, who was obsessed with immortality, make such elaborate arrangements for his burial?

Qin Shi Huangdi was buried with the terracotta army and court because he wanted to have the same military power and imperial status in the afterlife as he had enjoyed during his earthly lifetime. The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, he unified much of modern-day northern and central China under his rule, which lasted from 246 to 210 BCE. Such an accomplishment would be difficult to replicate in the next life without a proper army - hence the 10,000 clay soldiers with weapons, horses and chariots.

The great Chinese historian Sima Qian (145-90 BCE) reports that construction of the burial mound began as soon as Qin Shi Huangdi ascended the throne, and involved hundreds of thousands of artisans and laborers. Perhaps because the emperor ruled for more than three decades, his tomb grew to be one of the largest and most complex ever built.

According to surviving records, Qin Shi Huangdi was a cruel and ruthless ruler. A proponent of legalism, he had Confucian scholars stoned to death or buried alive because he disagreed with their philosophy.

However, the terracotta army is actually a merciful alternative to earlier traditions both in China and in other ancient cultures. Often, early rulers from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties had soldiers, officials, concubines and other attendants buried along with the dead emperor. Sometimes the sacrificial victims were killed first; even more horrifically, they were often entombed alive.

Either Qin Shi huangdi himself or his advisors decided to substitute the intricately-made terracotta figures for actual human sacrifices, saving the lives of more than 10,000 men plus hundreds of horses. Each life-sized terracotta soldier is modeled on an actual person - they have distinct facial features and hairstyles.

The officers are depicted as being taller than the foot soldiers, with the generals tallest of all. Although higher-status families may have had better nutrition than lower-class ones, it is probable that this is symbolism rather than a reflection of every officer actually being taller than all of the regular troops.

Shortly after Qin Shi Huangdi's death in 210 BCE, his son's rival for the throne, Xiang Yu, may have looted the weapons of the terracotta army, and burned the support timbers. In any case, the timbers were burned and the section of the tomb containing the clay troops collapsed, smashing the figures to pieces. Approximately 1,000 of the 10,000 total have been put back together.

Qin Shi Huangdi himself is buried under an enormous pyramid-shaped mound that stands some distance from the excavated sections of the burial. According to ancient historian Sima Qian, the central tomb contains treasures and wondrous objects, including flowing rivers of pure mercury (which was associated with immortality). Soil testing nearby has revealed elevated levels of mercury, so there may be some truth to this legend.

Legend also records that the central tomb is booby-trapped to fend off looters, and that the emperor himself placed a powerful curse on any who dared to invade his final resting place. Mercury vapor may be the real danger, but in any case, the government of China has been in no great hurry to excavate the central tomb itself. Perhaps it is best not to disturb China's infamous First Emperor.

How to get to the Warriors from Xian Xianyang International Airport?
Visitors can take Airport Shuttle Line 2 to Xian Railway Station. The bus departs every hour from 10:15 to 19:15 at 1F of T2 and the ticket costs CNY 25. After, take tourism bus no.5 (306), bus no.914, 915 and get off at the final station.

Visitors can also hire a taxi from the airport. Remember to take the legitimate green colored taxies and the fee is about CNY 200. Please make it clear to the taxi driver that you only go to the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and refuse to go to other scenic sites including souvenir shops.

How to get the Warriors from Xian Railway Station or downtown?
You can go to the the east square of Railway Station to take tourism bus no.5 (306) for reaching destination. The whole journey takes about one hour. The bus fare for tourism bus no. 5 (306) is CNY7 (US$1.12) per person. Or one can take bus no.307 from the south gate of Tang Paradise. It costs CNY8 (US$1.28) per person if tourists take bus no. 307.

How to get to the Warriors from Xian North Railway Station?
There are free shuttle buses between North Railway Station and the museum. They are scheduled from the railway station from 08:00 to 16:00 and return from the museum during 10:30 and 19:30. The whole journey takes around an hour.
Note: To take the free shuttle bus, you will get a boarding pass/card by showing your train ticket on the arrival day and the entrance ticket to any attraction of Lintong. Upon arrival, you can buy the tickets of Lintong attractions at the Tourists Service Center on the underground floor of the railway station.

From Lintong District:
Take bus 914, 915 or Speical Line 101 and get off at Terracotta Warrior Museum. The whole journey takes about 15 minutes.

Getting Around:
30 shuttle buses are traveling between the Museum of Qin Terra cotta Warriors and Horses and the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum for tourists' convenience. One can take them for free by showing the entrance ticket. 
Operating hours: 08:30-18:30
Xian Bus / Subway Search

 Car Rental: car rental service to Terra Cotta Warriors Museum offered by TravelChinaGuide, with experienced chauffeur.

By Bus :
Bus: Take Tourism Bus No. 5 (306) from the East Square of Xian Railway Station or Bus 307 from the South Gate of Tang Paradise, get off at Bing Ma Yong ( Terracotta Warriors) Station

It usually takes around three hours in the museum. 
Opening Hours
Sell ticket from 08:30 to 17:00 (March 16-Nov.15), stop check-in at 18:35; 
Sell ticket from 08:30 to 16:30 (Nov.16-March 15), stop check-in at 18:05
Admission Fee:
CNY150 (March 1 - end of November)
CNY120 (December 1 - end of Februay)
The fare is for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Park Through Ticket including the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Lishan Garden and shuttle buses inside the scenic area.

1 comment:

Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC; more resources at BlogXpertise