We went to visit the Terracotta Army Museum on Monday 28th June 2010. We took the local bus (No.915) to the museum. This cost us just 7 Yuan (70p), once again much cheaper than the tours where they charge over £15-£20 each! Getting the local bus was very straight forward; we got it from the the Xi’an Railway station (East of Railway station). It is in front of the East ticket office, there are a large number of buses waiting here. The bus is green and has Terracotta Army written on the front. Other people will try and get you to go with them in smaller mini buses, just keep walking towards the big buses and you will find it. Just ask the lady or man on the bus to tell you when to get off, as the bus goes to several destinations. The journey takes about 45 minutes.
The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 in the eastern suburbs of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province by local farmers drilling a water well 1.5 miles east of Mount Li. This discovery prompted archaeologists to investigate. The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin Shi Huang, “shi huang” means the first emperor in 210-209 BC.
Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as “Qin’s Armies.”
The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. The figures are various heights from 6ft-6ft 5 inches.
The Entrance ticket to the Museum costs 90 Yuan (£9). This get’s you in to all the pits and all the other buildings.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Terracotta Army. We had seen images of the Terracotta Army on TV before, but didn’t really know much else about it, so it was really interesting to see it and learn more. Many people come to visit this site, Xi’an is made popular by the Terracotta Army.
Pit 1 is the largest and most restored of the 3 pits. However many of the army are still damaged and in the middle of being restored.
In the exibition hall you will find many ancient swords, different kinds of bronze weapons and two bronze chariots and horses . The sets of bronze chariots and horses are the most delicate bronze ware unearthed in China and are the biggest and most valuable bronze works in the world.
They were found broken into more than 16,000 pieces in a collapsed coffin, but attain their original glamour after the restoration.
We spent about 3-4 hours looking around. There’s a lot to take in and a lot to see. You can hire a private tour guide once you get there for 50 Yuan (£5). This is a lot cheaper than going on a tour with your hotel. However if you want to make your trip even cheaper, get a book or just read the many signs that are placed around the pits.
We got the public bus back to the city. It was Number 914. This number bus starts from the museum. The 915 bus that we got to the museum doesn’t come into the museum itself, however you can get it from the road just outside.
We are now in Shanghai. We arrived Friday afternoon at 3pm. We got the k558 train from Xi’an to Shanghai. We had to pay for 1st class, as all the other seats and trains were fully booked. Our ticket cost us 490 Yuan each (£50) and the journey lasted 22 hours. This train was quite old and the 1st class was no where near as nice as the second class on our other trains. If you have a choice of trains try to book the modern z94 train (the z class are newer trains). The high demand for trains to Shanghai is probably due to the Expo 2010 (world fair) being held in Shanghai this year . Hotel prices are also higher because of the Expo, so be prepared to pay more whilst the Expo is on.
We will be spending another 3 days here in Shanghai, then we leave for Tokyo on Wednesday 7th July. Well we will write more about our time here later.
Ruth and Paul