They have stood in rows for centuries, warrior sentinels of an ancient culture. Time and vandals have taken their toll; the uniforms are dulled, but their weapons are still sharp. Many now come from around the world, to see this awesome testament of faith to life eternal, of the first emperor of China!
Discovered well into the 20th century while China was still isolated and ping pong diplomacy was getting its start, they were only visited by scholars and the Chinese. National Geographic did a major story on them and really brought the immensity of this archaeological find that would rival the tomb of King Tut in significance, into the public consciences. For many, myself included, our first glimpses of these ancient warriors were at museum expositions in the US, a few years after they were first discovered.
When planning our trip to China we knew that we needed to see Beijing, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City and the warriors of Xian. Xian is located well inland and is difficult to get to by land. The new train to Lhasa and cheap flights on regional Chinese airlines are the most expedient way to get there. The city of Xian with its very well preserved bell tower and city walls would be a worthy adventure in itself. Like many of the cities in China, the sight of western tourists walking around on the streets with out chaperones is a novelty and they go out of their way to be helpful.
Xian was the home of the first emperor of China that had succeeded in unifying the 7 kingdoms of that time into the beginnings of modern china. He built for himself a large number of burial chambers the total number still unknown as they are still discovering them today. 3 of the larger burial chambers include among other things a complete army exactly duplicating the individual features of all of the soldiers and their equipment as well as horses and sprit carts to take the emperor to the next world.
Anticipated find’s yet to be uncovered, is a complete palace with a mercury lake, as well as household staff and animals which should provide an extraordinary detailed look at this ancient period of Chinese history. The warriors of Xian will continue to stand and amaze as more will be revealed, one day at a time during there vigil.