Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

The Terracotta Army is located about an hour outside the city of Xi’an, so it’s easy to reach via bus, car or train. The entrance ticket costs 150 Yuan, a little over $20, it gives you access to the Terracotta Army Museum and the Mausoleum of Qin Shihunag. There are hundreds of life sized sculptures of soldiers which were buried underground over 2,000 years ago. There’s a lot of history to discover in this World Cultural Heritage Site.

This phenomenal collection of statues was originally buried with the emperor Qin Shi Huang in 209 BCE. They were accidentally discovered by a farmer in 1974 and the slow excavation of them continues to this day. You can visit the excavation pit where they all remain standing in formation as though poised for a great battle, and when you do, you’ll see how each face is carved unique and different from the rest. It’s a moving and unforgettable sight.

I kept my most awaited attraction of Xi’an, Museum of Terracotta Warriors, for the second day. The stone army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang Di was discovered in 1974 by some peasants and today receives thousands of visits daily. The museum is located about 20 miles from Xi’an, and you could see thousands of statues of life-size soldiers, horses, and carriages in its three huge pits. During the ancient times, old caravans from Xian headed towards the oasis of Dunhuang, the door of the desert and place of rest before undertaking the most feared stretch of the Silk Road: the Taklamakan Desert. The name of this desert means “go in, and you’ll never come out” in Uyghur, the language of the Turkmen ethnic group that lives in the current autonomous regions of Gansu and Xinjiang. The Silk Road divided here into two branches that surrounded this ocean of dunes. Fortunately, I didn’t have to endure the 1200-mile journey from Xian to Dunhuang on horseback, thanks to this modern-day invention called airplanes.

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