Face-to-Face with the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an

by Rosemarie John on October 5, 2014

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Unfortunately, through sheer coincidence, my visit was timed at the same time as the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s visit to the Museum of Terracotta Warriors in Xian, in northern China’s Shaanxi province. I grumbled and muttered under my breath as I waited for my turn to behold the magnificent statues that took 38 years and 720 thousand builders to build. With every entry cordoned off by security personnel, I wasn’t even sure if I would get to see the warriors.

There were security guards everywhere, every path was blocked, and getting to the entrance of each terracotta warrior pit was an obstacle. There are three pits in total that are accessible to the public. Each pit, the size of a football field stayed hidden for more than 2000 years. I waited anxiously in the sweltering sun waiting for my turn…

This amazing necropolis sat towards the east of Emperor Qin’s tomb which has not been excavated till date. The sole purpose for the existence of these warriors and cavalry was to accompany the emperor in his eternal rest. I kept reading about the warriors on my phone as I sat in the blazing sun waiting for the President to leave!

Finally Mr. President did leave after a four hour wait! I rushed into Pit 1 along with the hordes of local Chinese tourists who literally shoved me away from their path. I tried to squeeze my way towards the railing for a better photo opportunity but to no avail. I then figured if I could wait 4 hours in the sun, I could give the local tourists their space. 15 minutes later, I practically had Pit 1 to myself. Yep in 15 minutes the tourists cleared the pit. It appeared that they were there just to glace and move on but I on the other hand planned no such thing.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie @ GnomeAngel.com October 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

This is one of the few places on Earth that captivated me as a child. I dreamed of one day seeing these and wrote a massive essay on them when I was in Primary School. I still haven’t managed to get there (one day) so I loved reading about your experience with them. I love the fact that they included everything an army would need – those horses are amazing. Just the skill alone… Love!
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Rosemarie John October 6, 2014 at 12:59 am

When the Terracotta exhibition came down to Singapore, I was dying to go and kept pushing it to another date thinking I will eventually go. The exhibition came and went and I had not seen them. I was disappointed in myself for not making time. But this experience has redeemed everything!


Lizzy (Good Things) October 6, 2014 at 12:58 am



Carolyn - Holidays to Europe October 10, 2014 at 5:52 am

Aren’t the Terracotta Warriors amazing?!! I loved my visit to Xi’an and just like you was mesmerised by the terracotta statues.

I can’t believe your visit was put on hold by Robert Mugabe, though – that’s amazing!
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Rosemarie John October 10, 2014 at 7:58 am

I know right! I was like how long does a President take to view all 3 pits?? Then I realised they had cordoned off the area way before he even arrived! Sigh….


Heather October 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Great photos! It really is an impressive sight, isn’t it? Our visit coincided with that of the supposed farmer who unearthed them, who was there signing autographs and selling books. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait in the sun for four hours for him!

Did you make it to the Shaanxi History Museum while you were there? It has an outstanding collection of the warriors on display and you can get unbelievably close to them!
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Rosemarie John October 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Yes I sure did! The Shaanxi History Museum was awesome but it was also very very crowded. 🙂 I suddenly realised that we may have been travelling around Xi’an during local Chinese school holidays!


Muza-chan November 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm

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Joe Louis November 17, 2014 at 5:28 am

I was surprised by the sheer number of soldiers! Great sight to see!


J.R. Duren May 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm

This is an amazing cultural treasure….I haven’t been there but I would love to go. Sites like this give us such a unique look into the cultures that came before us. Fascinating!


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