Finally, it was time to go and see the terracota warriors, one of the worlds most famous sites. One that is UNESCO listed.
The same terracota warriors that have been on display in the art galleries in Glasgow.
So, was it as good as we expected ? Not really and if you want to know why not, read on.
To get there, we took a bus from the hotel to the Bell tower and then walked to the train station. The queue to get to the bus should have given us an indication of what to expect.
The queue was probably going to take about 10 minutes to walk the length of it. The plus point was that getting the public bus was much cheaper than going by organised tour. It also gives an indication of how the Chinese people would normally travel to one of these sites.
When we got there, the bus drops you at a place which is about a 10 – 15 minute walk from the ticket office. The walk takes you through several hundred stalls and food places.
After sucessfully getting by all of these, you have to run another gauntlet, this time it’s tour guides who offer to take you round the site for a hefty fee of 450RMB (£45 approx).
The guide for the underground castle (near Pingyao), which was a similar time cost 40RMB (£4).
So, on to the warriors themselves, it turns out that the warriors that you see are not actually originals. You are informed at some point that the warriors on display are ones that were excavated, restored and then put on display.
The whole site is massive and takes quite a long time to walk around. There are three pits, 2 of the three are worth seeing but pit 2 is really a waste of time.
Pit 3 is quite a small one and there’s quite a few of the restored warriors which are amazing to see.
Pit 1 is the biggest and supposedly the best of the three, however, the crowd there is something similar to what you’d expect to see if there was a pop star or movie star in town. That was possibly due to it being a national holiday in China where everything gets far busier than usual.
The excess numbers mean that most folk try and push and shove their way past you so you have to be prepared to push and shove back while trying to get a slight view of these warriors.
Yes, they’re great to see and yes, they are a world famous site but it just looks like a partly worked on archaelogical site which they stopped working on because of the amount of tourist money that is now available.
Thankfully though, we also knew about the Hanyangling museum which we went to the next day.
I’d say if you’re in Xi’an then go and see them but don’t be fooled by all the marketing. The photo that you are likely to see on most websites and promotional info is actually just a picture of a picture instead of being a picture of the actual warriors.
At the site, there is an exhibition hall which probably gives a better view of the warriors than what the pits themselves do.