Advantages One of the big sites to see
Disadvantages Most of them are still buried or broken
The Terracotta Warriors tend to get listed as one of China’s must-see attractions. The history behind these is that the first emperor of China wanted a magnificent tomb, so he commissioned the building of it while he was still a young man and they worked on it for over thirty years. One of the things built was a massive army of life sized warriors made out of terracotta, hence the name. About eight thousand warriors were built, each with different faces and expressions because the sculptors modelled the warriors’ faces on themselves.
After the emperor’s death, however, there was an uprising. People got into the tomb and smashed apart the warriors, taking their weapons to use in the rebellion. The warriors were then broken and forgotten about. The warriors were discovered again in the 1970s by farmers in the region. Since then, a massive museum has been built about them with experts working to preserve and reconstruct the warriors.
When you approach the museum, the first thing you see is a massive amount of tourist shops. We were walked through what felt like a small town comprised entirely of shops selling junk to tourists. We didn’t get pestered too much to buy things (less than most of the other places visited on the tour) so we came through to the entrance of the museum with our wallets intact.
The museum itself is made up of several buildings that have been constructed around the warriors in their original setting. Our first stop was a building that was a combination gift shop and cinema. The cinema played a 15 minute film about the warriors on about ten screens round in a circle, with each screen showing different images. It made it rather difficult to know where you should be watching but gave a basic introduction to the warriors. The gift shop also sometimes has, signing his name in books about the warriors, the farmer who discovered the warriors. He looked rather bored.
The next building we went into was the largest. It housed trenches with the warriors standing in them. Near the entrance to the building were reconstructed warriors standing in ranks. Further bank, the trenches held broken pieces awaiting attention. At the very back of the room was an area where the warriors were being reconstructed. I was actually a little disappointed by this because I hadn’t realised how damaged the warriors would be. I went into the museum expecting to see eight thousand model warriors in an army. Instead, there were maybe a couple of hundred that had been put back together.
They were still impressive, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the dedication of the people who spend day after day rebuilding these things, but it still wasn’t quite what I was expecting. We were also separated from the warriors on a raised walkway. I’d hoped to get a little closer.
Another building housed models of personal guard. Or, more accurately, a lot of broken pieces of the statues of the personal guards. As with the first building, most of the warriors were in broken fragments.
|Is it worth visiting?|
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