Xi'an and the Army of
Terracotta Warriors
Xi'an is most famous for its underground Army of Terracotta
(clay) Warriors, arrayed in long columns.  They have served
an army hitch of about 2,000 years.  The Terracotta Warriors
are from the Chin (or Qin) Dynasty, which first unified China,
only to be overthrown soon afterwards.  Xi'an was the Chin
capital, a glorious metropolis in its day.
The soldiers were carved with extreme attention to detail, such
as individual faces on the troops.  They also have horses and
weapons.  A real army would have been far more use to the
Chin, who put a great deal of effort into creating this one.
You can see what the uniforms and armor looked
like that the troops wore.  Movies set in this
important historical period use such models to
recreate the once mighty Chin army.
This man and the other troops are now being restored and
reinforced with missing limbs and weapons added to bring
the Terracotta Warriors back to full fighting strength.  The
soldiers in their deep pits were only discovered by accident
fairly recently, creating a tourist bonanza for Xi'an.
Xi'an also has a museum of ancient engraved
stone tablets.  The oldest go back 3,000 years and
are foundations of Chinese civilization.  Included
is a dictionary.  Some of these tablets have been
exhibited at the museum for over 1,000 years.  
Both the Terracotta Warriors and the stone
tablets have to be protected from one unpleasant
aspect of modern Xi'an as shown below.   
The air pollution and smog in Xi'an are horrible.  
This is a view of main street from the old city walls.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free film of this trip by clicking on:
The Last Emperor's Home Video