Magnificent and magical China is the world’s third most visited country, and with the vast variety of attractions on offer, it is no wonder the East’s mega house of culture is only increasing in popularity. Famed for its mystical ancient past, China boasts a stunning inventory of archaeological wonders, one of the most famous being the Terracotta Warriors.
This collection of ancient terracotta sculptures depicts the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China and is thought to have been built to be part of his grand tomb to serve as his army in the afterlife.
The figures, which date from as far back as the 3rd century BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers who continued to find strange terracotta artifacts in their fields and rivers. They vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals, and include warriors, chariots and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.
Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. In addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the emperor has also been found around the first emperor’s tomb mound. It consists of several offices, halls, stables and other structures placed around the tomb mound which is surrounded by two solidly built rammed earth walls with gateway entrances.
A tour of the Terracotta Warriors takes you through some of China’s charming countryside and gives you a glimpse into life in the rest of China, away from the hubbub of the metropolitan cities.
The logistics of traveling in China are becoming increasingly easier and economical. There has been massive leaps and bounds with domestic travel options including huge investment in transportation facilities such as roads, railways and airlines. This is a big plus for time-precious travelers who have a lot to see and very little time to achieve it!