I just realized that I have a whole bunch of pictures that I haven’t posted yet. These are from Xian. Its a pretty big city, one of the ancient capitals of China, but I think most people outside of China know it as the place where they found the Terracotta Army. The city itself is pretty cool, though to be honest, after being to like 10 Chinese cities in the past few weeks, they’re all starting to blend together.
Xian has a Muslim section, filled mostly with people from the Hui minority. Their food is quite delicious, lots of lamb with noodles and bread in various combinations. The Muslim section also contains one of the oldest mosques in China, but you can’t really tell its a mosque by looking at it because it looks exactly like a Chinese temple, even the minaret is disguised like a Chinese pavilion.
We spent a day at the Terracotta Army site. The tour was organized by our hostel and pretty much anytime you go on an organized tour in China, you get dragged to some sort of gift shop disguised either as a museum or as a factory. In Suzhou it was a silk ‘museum’ and a tea pot ‘factory’, in Xian, it was a Terracotta Warrior ‘factory’. Actually, it was kind of cool. They showed us how they make the souvenir Terracotta Warriors, and our guide claimed that it was the same technique that was used to make the real ones.
If you’re in Xian for more than 20 minutes, you’ll already have seen like a million fake Terracotta Warriors, so by the time you get to the actual site, seeing the real ones isn’t all that exciting. What is exciting is seeing the giant building that covers the area where they are still being excavated. Its like a huge train station. They’ve uncovered about 2,000 of the warriors so far, and they estimate that another 6,000 are stilll underground. The still-buried warriors have the original paint on them, but if you expose them to the air, the paint fades away. So until science can figure out how to stop the paint from fading, they’re going to leave the rest of the guys buried.