Xi'an And The Terracotta Army Of Shaanix Province, China

November 17, 2013

The ancient capital city of Xi'an is most famous for being the jumping-off point for the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army.  Like any city in China, it hums with the sounds of millions of people and their cars moving around, and a thick smog covers the sky. One place to turn to for some peace and quiet are the city walls. 12 metres above the city, encircling 14 square kilometres. Up there, the noise of the city is muted, providing a little restpite from the hustle and bustle of modern-day China.

A little way out of Xi'an, is the vast complex that houses the Terracotta A stunning archeological find, this fantastic collection of terracotta sculptures represents the armies of the Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, and was discovered by farmers in 1974.

Careful excavation work still continues, but to date archeologists have uncovered more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. All the figures are life-sized. They vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle in accordance with rank. Most originally held real weapons such as spears, swords, or crossbows which have since been looted.

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Recently excavated figures stand lined up at the end of a large hall known as Pit 1. Most are drying off, following restoration work. 

Red ribbons and golden locks are fixed to the railings alongside the walkway on Mount Hua, one of China's five holy Taoist Great Mountains. People come from all over China to visit its three famous peaks and its temples.

Red symbolises good fortune and joy in Chinese culture and the gold in a lock can mean prayer for your family.

As the sun descends into the smog behind mountains, the cable car is about to finish for the day. Two cable car routes to the East and West carry tourists up and down the mountain. The longer of the two is 8km long and takes 20 minutes to reach the peak.