Visited June 21-22, 2010.
- Big Wild Goose Pagoda (June 21)
- Ancient City Wall (June 21)
- Tang Dynasty show (June 21)
- Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors – Horses Museum (June 22)
- Grand Mosque (June 22)
Of the four ancient capitals of China, Xi’an, formerly known as Chang’an, is the oldest. The Qin dynasty (221 B.C.E.-206 B.C.E.) was founded within the Shaanxi province, the region that includes Xi’an. After unifying the empire, the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, (259 BC-210 BC) sent thousands of laborers to work on his tomb in 231 B.C.E. Discovered in 1974 by the farmers east of Xi’an, the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi is now a well-known world attraction famous for its life-size army of terra cotta warriors and horses.
Today, a museum is built around the discovery sites and preservation work is still ongoing. However, one may ask the question: why did Qin Shi Huangdi want replica soldiers buried with him? One answer is that Chinese burial practices involved burying representations of real objects. A terra cotta soldier is just as good as the real one. Another answer concerns the emperor’s fears of assassination and desire for immortality. In either case, the fact that these burial replicas have been well-preserved since the Qin is remarkable. Continue reading