Xi’an is capital of Shaanxi province in Western China. It has more than 3000 year history. At one time, most important connection between the East and the West was through China’s Silk Road, where goods (which included a lot of silk) traveled from East to West. A great deal of cultural exchange occurred through the Silk Road. Xi’an is the starting point of the Silk Road. And now it has become more famous after the discovery of the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
Our cultural knowledge also was enhanced in Xi’an. On the first day, we visited the ancient wall that surrounds the city. It is absolutely beautiful. We also visited the Great Wild Goose Pagoda. In the evening, we went to a show that depicted emperor Huang’s dynasty. My friend and I decided to walk back to the hotel instead of riding back with the tour. At several places, people were doing Tai Chi or were dancing and at couple of places, I joined in the fun and found the people to be very welcoming.
Next day, we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors. Emperor Qin’s Terracotta pits are located 1.5 kilometers from the emperor’s mausoleum. The pits were never mentioned in the historical records and at one time pillaged and wrecked and then remained buried until 1974. In 1974, a farmer was drilling a well and happened to come upon them. When President Clinton visited China, he wanted to meet this farmer and the farmer was apparently taught some English and some easy answers – like how are you, I am fine, me too etc. When Mr. Clinton shook his hand and told him “I am Bill Clinton”, the poor farmer replied “me too”.
Many people consider the Terracotta pits to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. And they are truly amazing. The largest pit measures 230 meters in length and 63 meters in width. The works is endless and still ongoing to excavate and restore the warriors. It is assumed that 6,000 warriors and horses will be unearthed from this pit alone. All the statues are life size and exquisitely made. About 40,000 bronze weapons have been unearthed from the pits. They are exquisitely made and coated with chrome-saline oxide coating, which protected the sharpness of the weapons and retained their shinyness.