Friday, December 16, 2011

Xi’an: The Terracotta Warriors

One of the big trips that we have been planning for the past couple months has been a trip to the province of Xi’an. This is where the Terracotta Warriors are and we were all really excited to see them.

Xi’an is in the north near Beijing so we had to get on a hard sleeper train. We left at 5:45pm and got in the next morning around 8 am. It was not one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had. Whenever the train reached a station, it would shudder and shake and thud to a stop. It felt like we were crashing into something which totally freaked us out the first time it happened. In Kelli and Lorilei’s compartment, the man sleeping on the bottom bed brought some interesting luggage:

Yes, those are crab legs sticking out of the sack. He pulled them out and let us all feel their long pointy legs.

What was funny was I was reading this book about China and it was talking about eating crabs which I was telling Katie about except she didn’t understand at first that it was in a book and she says, “Crabs? Where? There better not be any crabs on this train!” And then five minutes later we find 4 sackfuls of crabs one compartment over haha

The Terracotta Warriors were discovered in 1974 by peasants. They come from the Qing Dynasty. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, believed that if he had this army built protecting his grave then in the next world his enemies wouldn’t be able to defeat him. It took 36 years and 700,000 workers to construct the terracotta warriors, and every warrior has an individual expression. They were all painted at one point but the paint has worn off now. They’ve been excavating since 1974 and there is still a lot of work to do—each warrior has to be put back together piece by piece. Qin Shi Huang was also the Emperor who began building the Great Wall of China.

This is Pit One where most of the excavations have been done

This is the cavalry part of the army (the lesser, unimportant soldiers). In each pit the status of the soldiers gets higher.

You can see some soldiers still have missing heads and holes in their armor. It must have been amazing to see the Terracotta Warriors in their prime all those soldiers lined up in row after row, painted and in position.

This is a higher ranking office that would have been found in Pit 2 or 3. You can tell because of the folds on his skirt. His wooden bow has disintegrated but he is still in position.

The Terracotta Warriors are a World Heritage Site which was exciting to put on the list of World Heritage Sites that I have been to. Currently I have visited: (China)The Great Wall of China, The Terracotta Warriors, Mount Huang Shan, the Summer Palace, ancient Anhui village, West Lake Hangzhou. (Britain) Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace, City of Bath, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Durham Castle, Old and New Town of Edinburgh. (USA)Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, Statue of Liberty.

There is also a very, very old Muslim Mosque in Xi'an. It was built when Islam was still a young religion isn't that awesome? And who would have thought we have found that in China. The prayer room has the Koran written in the wall in Arabic (on the top) and Chinese (on the bottom) of the wall. The picture isn't very good because we weren't allowed to go into the actual room, so I had to take the picture from the door frame.

We made friends with these hilarious Muslim monks. This one was our favorite.

They welcomed us in, took our picture, taught us phrases in all these different languages, and showed us money from all over the world.

One of the coolest part of visiting this Mosque was that we were able to stay and watch the monks gather for the evening call to prayer. It was really cool to watch. This is a clock of the times for the evening call to prayer all over the world.

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