We wake up at 7am to be early on the site that we want to visit today: the Army of Terracotta Warriors, the main (and only) reason we came to Xi’an.
While going to the bus stop in front of the station, we grab a few things to eat for breakfast: fruit, almonds and stuffed buns.
We take the local bus, the green one not the blue one (whose staff is particularly eager to push us into it) because Isabelle read somewhere that the blue ones stop in touristy shops on the way.
The trip takes 1 hour.
The Terracotta Army is one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. This subterranean life-size army of thousands (with archers, cavalrymen and their horses, officers, generals…) has silently stood guard over the soul of China’s fist unifier for more the two millennia. Either Qin Shi Huang was terrified of the spirits awaiting him in the afterlife, or as most archaeologists believe, he expected his rule to continue in death as it had in life. An interesting fact is that no two soldier’s faces are alike.
Entrance tickets are rather expensive (150 Yuan per adult).
We start with the hall of the pit 1 to see the movie but the theatre is closed. We had scheduled to visit the site in reverse, which should enable us to build up to the most impressive pit (pit 1) for a striking finale but we can’t resist to have a look at the pit 1. We’ve seen so many pictures of it that we are impatient to discover it in real life! Housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar, pit 1 is believed to contain 6,000 warriors (only 1,000 are on display) and horses, all facing east and ready for battle. Quite impressive.
I have mixed feelings about this visit though. I’m a bit disappointed. I have the impression that the most striking point about this site is the (incredible) “story” itself (the fact that an emperor decided to put a full army with him in his burial place) and that the visit doesn’t add that much to it (while it is usually the opposite for other attractions). Or maybe it’s a question of expectations (although they were quite low before the visit). Moreover, there are a lot of people. Furthermore, I really don’t like this hangar…
The kids found the visit a bit boring but Isabelle liked it a lot.
The visit took us nearly 3 hours. We take a quick lunch in one of the many food stalls at the exit. Then the bus back to hotel.
We do some homeschooling. But the Wi-Fi connection is bad. It’s frustrating. We also buy another VPN.
We go to the South Gate around 6:30pm. It is well lit, together with the other towers of the ramparts as well as the Drum and Bell Towers. It’s very nice.
We eat copious bowls of noodles in a typical cheap restaurant. Nice.
We want to see the show at the South Gate but we arrive too late (it starts at 8pm – while the guidebook mentions 8:30pm). We might come back tomorrow but it’s quite expensive (260 Yuan per person even for the children). It’s a pity because the other nice show in town (a free fountain and music show on Big Goose Pagoda Square) is currently closed for maintenance.
We are back at the hostel around 10pm.