by Roaming Panda
Long before Beijing became the capital of China, Xi'an stood as a pillar in the East. Marking the end of the famous Silk Road, Xi'an is an ancient city filled with a long history and a rich culture. Xi'an is also home to the legendary Terracotta Warriors of China's first emperor.
The Terracotta Warriors were constructed for Emperor Qin Shi Huang who was buried with this army so he can continue to rule in the afterlife. Construction began when the emperor was only 13 years old and involved a staggering 700,000 workers to complete. 700,000 WORKERS. That's a lot of people. The exact number of soldiers, generals, chariots, and horses that were buried is still in question but estimates suggests this number to be north of 8,000 soldiers.
When you see these in real life, you'll understand why this exorbitant amount of manpower was needed. Each warrior stands at a 1:1 scale and no 2 warriors are the same. Each one with different hair, facial features, armor, weapon, etc. The level of detail is impressive.
Aside from the Terracotta Warriors, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Small Goose Pagoda are 2 major historic attractions. If you're familiar with the Journey to the West mythology, then you know the premise of the story is the pursuit of Buddhist scriptures in India. And while the Monkey King is a work of fiction, the journey was real, the monk was real, and the scriptures were real, and housed in the pagodas. Today, you can climb the narrow staircases of the Giant Goose Pagoda for breathtaking views of the city from each cardinal direction.
Somewhere in between the Terracotta Warriors and the 2 pagodas lies the Huaqing Palace, an ancient bathhouse to the emperor powered by geothermal springs. Here is also the place where the love story between Emperor Xuanzong and his side chick Yang Guifei unfolded. Legend has it, he was so obsessed with her because shorty was THICC.
Xi'an is also the first city in ancient China to allow the practice of Islam. A large portion of the population is Muslim and you can see the influences in their attire, food, and in the several mosques that are throughout the city. It was so interesting to see such a unique marriage of these 2 cultures, it really took me by surprise.
There are still so many cities and so many things to see in China. I'm glad I was able to scratch Xi'an off my list. The Terracotta Warriors alone are worth the trip. To see the full album of pics from this trip, click HERE. Until the next trip, "zaijian".