Saturday, 6 November 2010


A day off in Xi'an...
The city is very picturesque and features quite a few historical buildings including a huge city wall which surrounds the centre of town.
On the way into town last night I spotted a Starbucks coffee shop, so this is to be our first stop of the day. China is very much a tea drinking country, we’re both missing coffee big time so its straight in for Venti Cappuccinos.

This city is world famous for the hoards of Terracotta Warriors which were unearthed by a local farmer digging a field back in 1974. We catch a cab out of town to the museum which houses the endless ranks of clay soldiers, they still sit in the pit’s they were discovered in.

The warriors were buried to protect the ruling king “Qin Shi Huang” (259>210 BC) on his journey from earth to the afterlife. The king set about arranging his burial details soon after taking power age 13, the warriors were just a small part of the preparations made in advance of his death. The kings mausoleum is located near to the site of the warriors and is yet to be uncovered - The warriors are incredible but the mausoleum promises to be spectacular if ever opened. The king used no less than 720,000 slave labourers to construct what is said to be a complete underground city, with over 100 rivers of flowing mercury.

From the exterior the site covers an incredible 2,180,000 square meters and appears to be little more than an overgrown hill - Following his entombment, the site was covered over with 300ft of earth top cover to disguise it, it's been sealed ever since…..

After yet another Starbucks, we spend the afternoon cycling a knackered old tandem bicycle around the top of the city wall. Good fun for the first 8km, not such great fun for the last 6km !

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