Xi’an day 1 – Terracotta Warriors

Today I went to see the Terracotta Warriors, an UNESCO world cultural heritage site. It’s a bit outside the city centre, so I had to take a bus, which was 16 RMB return. Entry to the Museum was 150 RMB.

Terracotta Warrior Xi'an
kneeling Terracotta Warrior

The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three halls with hundreds of life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations. They still haven’t unearthed all of them so I could watch the archaeologists working, which was the most interesting for me about the museum. They have one section, where they glue thousands of tiny broken single pieces together to restore terracotta soldiers. I watched one archaeologist doing this and was impressed how she would measure the arm of some soldier on and on again to (probably after hours) find the missing piece.

this is how it looks like before the warriors get unearthed

archaeologist measuring the arm of a broken terracotta warrior 

broken terracotta warriors waiting to get glued
Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur. I just stood there and couldn’t believe how someone could have created this massive mausoleum thousands of years ago. I read somewhere it took them 11 years to finish the whole thing. Impressive.

look how massive Pit 1 is!

After I came back from the Terracotta Warriors I went to see the Muslim quarter with its streets full of street food. I was overwhelmed by the different smells, bright lights and the variety of food. I decided to try a few different things; some squid as well as lamb skewers and also persimmon cake a typical sweet from Xi’an. This cake is only available in autumn/winter and according to traditional Chinese medicine, eating it can help relieve thirst, strengthen the spleen and reduce phlegm. Whooohoo healthy sweets- more of them please! Hehe

fancy some chicken feet?

man pulling candy dough on Muslim Street/Xi'an

I then passed one food stall where lots of people were queuing up. I thought this can only be a good sign and joined the queue. A guy approached me, showed me some card and was speaking to me in Chinese. Of course I didn’t get what he was saying and shook my head. I thought it might be some advertising. However, the girl next to me in the line explained to me in English, that I would have to buy a ticket with him and once it’s my turn I would have to hand in the ticket rather than paying the guy, who is preparing the food. She also explained, that this stall sells the Xi’an speciality Rou Jia Mo and the guy doing it has been in TV for his tasty burgers. So I went back to the guy selling the tickets and got one for me. I was glad the girl had explained everything to me and we started talking. She told me her name is Stephany, she’s working for an airline and is in Xi’an for a conference. When mentioning that I’m currently travelling and will be in Chengdu next she invited me to her home in Chongqing. A city only 2 hours away from Chengdu. I’m more interested in the people of China than sights, so I’m really considering to go and see her. So after we got our burgers we connected on WeChat (a kind of whatsapp in China) and agreed to keep in touch.

I then took the underground to the Goose Pagoda, where the largest musical fountain in China is held every day at 9pm. I love illuminated things and also music, so the perfect thing for me to do.

I then decided to enjoy the comings and goings at the near-by square. Once more I noticed Chinese people like to dance. There were several groups of people, young and old, dancing to various styles of music. Whilst watching one group a Chinese woman approached me and tried to get me to join in. I told her, if she would join as well I would do and so we started dancing. It was good fun and it became even more fun, when the music switched to Modern Talking. Hard to believe, but yeah I was dancing to Modern Talking’s ‘Sexy Sexy Lover’ with hundreds of random Chinese people on some square in Xi’an. Who would have thought? I wish we would have such things in Germany. People who dance every night on some square just to stay healthy. I hope more dancing in China will come up for me…

man selling traditional Chinese sweets on his cycle. In the background you can see the illuminated Goose Pagoda.

Chinese people dancing on the north square of Goose Pagoda


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