Pit 1, Terra Cotta Warriors

I finally made it to the last and largest excavation site.  There was a certain “wow” effect when you walked through the front door and came up to the edge of the viewing area.  It was indeed a massive place.  The soldiers lined up by the thousands.  I tried to imagine what it was like 1800 years ago as thousands of laborers worked to install and then bury these stone replica soldiers.

Each of the Terra Cotta soldiers was vividly painted and carried weapons; in the empty hands of the soldiers, you can see where a wooden polled halberd was placed.  Over the years, the wood decayed but the soldiers remained.

On the sides of the walls between the soldiers you can see the grooves where the supporting logs were placed that formed the roofs of the burial chambers.

As I walked along the side of the massive excavation building, I looked back and shot a photo of the entrance.  It should help give some scale to how massive the place was.  The next photo is a composite of three shots I made from the entrance.  I’ll never travel without my SLR + wide angle lense ever again…

Towards the back of the exhibit I was able to get down close to the soldiers as they were originally placed.  It was an amazing experience and a fulfillment of a dream I’ve had for over 30 years…


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drive to the Terra Cotta Warriors

Since I was 8 years old and I saw the Terra Cotta Warriors in National Geographic Magazine, I  have dreamed of visiting them.  On this day, I was finally on the drive to their location outside of Xian.  I was very excited and double checked to make sure that I had spare batteries for my camera.

On the drive, I saw some interesting sights like the man above and decided to shoot some photos during the hour-long bus ride.  Just outside of the city I again looked in near disbelief at the thick smog that hung over the city.  It seemed that everywhere I went the pollution haze lingered like a bad reminder of what we do to our planet each day.

Just beyond the edge of this photo were some apartment buildings perhaps 300 or 400 meters away and I could barely make them out.  Looking in this photo, I can’t see them at all.

I am not sure what this policewoman was doing.  She may have been trying to direct traffic, but no one paid any attention.  The Chinese rarely follow traffic rules, having a cop on a box was more of a joke (“keep them all employed”) than not.


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Xian, China

After my breakfast I headed out into Xian to explore a bit.  I planned to work my way to the bus station in order to buy tickets to go and see the Terra Cotta warriors who were the reason for my visit to Xian.  Once out on the street I looked up to the roof of my hotel and was surprised to see that it was partially obscured by the thick smog that hung over the city.

Near the bus station I examined the old medieval walls that ran just outside of the bus-yard.  The entire area was full of restaurants, shops, and all sorts of other businesses.  I found a McDonalds that rested on the 2nd floor of a restaurant building complex.  On the ground floor I found a restaurant that appeared to be a KFC knockoff.  Instead of Colonel Sanders they had “Mr. Lee.”

The second floor McDonald’s window provided a bird’s eye view of the major intersection outside of the bus terminal.

I watched in amazement as so many Chinese people came to and fro, briskly walking to their destinations.  The streets were wide and always crowded with people.  The buses cars and motorcycles danced between the people with a particular finesse that seemed avoid what should have been a thousand traffic accidents.  The old city walls looked down with a timeless wisdom that seemed to stand out of place in this bustling metropolis; perhaps in another country, but in China the old seems to mix with the new everywhere I go.

Inside the bus courtyard hundreds of Chinese Army soldiers, Marines, and Sailors unloaded from busses and organized into their unit formations.  It almost looked as if they were staging for a parade.  I tried asking some of them what the occasion was but no one spoke English.  I was eager to head out to see the Terra Cotta Warriors so I didn’t spend too much time looking at the military men.  Later, when I ate dinner, the restaurant I was in had about 40 soldiers in it; I was completely surrounded.  I tried to take their photo but they objected.  Instead, I asked one soldier to take my photo hoping to catch them in the background.  He did his best to not take photos of his comrades but you can see a few of them in the background.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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