Friday, May 11, 2012

The Terra Cotta Warriors

Our next stop on the tour was Xi'an where in 1974, a farmer digging a well discovered some pottery shards.  Excavation began and altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits.  Many have been restored, but there is still a lot of work to do to uncover the entire army built by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.  The figures were buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and their purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife, and to make sure that he had people to rule over.

Nancy and I particularly enjoyed walking along the city wall, the largest intact city wall in the world.  Below the wall, the moat around the old city is still pleasant to walk along.  Had it not been late in the afternoon, we would have rented bikes and biked around the old city, all 9 miles of the wall.  Maybe next time.

An optional tour was a dumpling dinner and Tang Dynasty show, one of the most popular entertainments in Xi'an.  It was featured on Samantha Brown's tour of China on the Travel Channel.  The dumplings were delicious and we must have had over a dozen varieties - the ones shaped like chickens contained chicken, the ones that looked like little fish, were made with fish, of course.  One variety was very, very spicy hot, and Nancy and one other member of our group ate all the ones given to our table - they were too hot for everyone else!  The show was phenomenal.  I loved the costumes and the scenery.  The performers were excellent.  Here are two photos:

Xi'an was our favorite city.  They say it's small because it only has 8 million people.  

Next stop, Beijing.

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