How to Experience Xi’an, China in 24 Hours

Xian China Main Gingerbread

Terracotta Warrior Museum

Entrance to Terracotta Warrior Museum in Xian

Emperor Qin Shihuang’s tomb is located in Southern Xi’an old city. An estimated 500 tombs have been found in the area. Emporer Qin Shihuang’s monument is the most elaborate in China, taking over 700,000 workers 37 years to complete. 

Pit 1

Terracotta Warriors Museum Pit One

Rows of Terracotta Warriors Xian

  • The Terracotta Warriors are one of China’s greatest archaeological discoveries. More than 8,000 clay soldiers, horses, and chariots forced to serve in Emperor Qin Shihuang’s army in his afterlife stand on guard. Endless rows of terracotta statues stand in lines separated by dirt walls streaked with ash.

group of terracotta warriors at the museum

  • The Terracotta Warrior Museum consists of 3 excavation pits, an ancient weapons exhibit, and a bronze and chariot exhibit. The first pit was discovered in 1974 by farmers drilling a well. 

Terracotta Warriors Museum

terracotta warrior pit 1 xian

  • The soldiers stand facing East at 5′ 11” high. Molds were used to create the warriors’ heads, arms, hands, legs, and hollow torsos. After the heads were made, artists used clay to create a unique expression for each warrior.

Terracotta Warrior Repair Xian

Working at Terracotta Warriors Xian

Pit 2: Military Units

Terracotta Warrior Pit 2

Pit 3 Terracotta Warriors Museum

  • The second vault is still undergoing excavation and estimated to be roughly half the size of Pit 1. To date 1,300 warriors and horses have been found in the L shaped area. Here, cavalry and infantry soldiers, kneeling and standing archers, and chariots were discovered. The kneeling archer being more compact was able to withstand the pressure and is the best preserved of the terracotta statues.

Terracotta Warriors Excavation Pit Two

Pit 3 : The Command Post

Pit 3 Terracotta Warrior Museum Xian

  • The third pit, shaped in a U, is the command post. This is the smallest pit and is still being excavated. Only 68 terracotta warriors and horses have been found so far. Piles of legs, arms, and torsos lie waiting to become whole again.

Exhibits

Terracotta warrior statues exhibit

  • Several well preserved warriors are on display in the weapons and bronze chariot exhibits, located inside Pit 2. At one time, the warriors stood vibrant with color, but as the warriors were excavated the paint reacted to the air causing the color to vanish almost immediately. Scientists continue to search for an answer to preserving the colors of the past.

Terracotta Warrior Weapon

  • Many of the soldiers have curved hands once grasping a weapon stolen during the raiding and scorching by Xiang Yu. Weapons surviving the raid are displayed in the weapons exhibition. Scientists were stumped to find the weapons showing no sign of corrosion. Further discovery revealed the swords contain a protective coating of chromium. The chrome plating technology protecting against corrosion was used in China 2,025 years before it was “invented” by the Germans in 1937, and then again “invented by Americans” in 1950. 

Terracotta Warriors Photo Opprotunity

Muslim Quarter

Muslim Quarter Xian

Muslim Quarter buildings Xian

  • The Muslim Quarter, located in the old city of Xi’an, is home to more than 20,000 Muslims. Architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is on display among the shops, restaurants, and vendors selling silk pictures, Chinese dresses, umbrellas, scarves, t-shirts, jewelry, statues, jade, and local food. All of the businesses in the area are owned by local Muslims.

Popcicles in Xian

Food in Xian China

  • Come hungry to enjoy the endless stands of noodles, pretzels, rice snacks, fruit, candy, soup dumplings, mystery meat, fruit pies, bread, deep fried crabs and scorpions, and sticks of lightly fried potato spirals.

Drum and Bell Towers

Xian Drum and Bell Tower China

Xian Bell Tower stairs

  •  Similar to Beijing, the Drum Tower (pictured left) and Bell Tower (pictured right) were used to communicate the time to the city with morning bells and evening drums. Adorable cartoon characters line the stairs of the bell tower located near the South gate of the city walls.

Old City Walls

Xian City Walls

  • The moat and brick walls enclosing the old city of Xi’an were once the largest display of military defense in the world. The wall is considered to be one of the best preserved in China. Visitors can rent bicycles and tour the city walls in about 2 hours.

Guard Towers Xian City Walls China

  • 3 watch towers guard each of the main gates of the wall measuring 8.5 mile long, 40 feet high, and up to 60 feet wide in some areas. The city is only accessible through one of the 4 gates: eternal joy, forever harmony, eternal peace, and harmony peace. 

City of Xian


*For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures China Express.

  1. Day 1: Fly into Beijing
  2. Day 2: Beijing: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
  3. Day 3: Great Wall Mutianyu and travel to Xi’an
  4. Day 4: Xian: Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour and travel to Suzhou
  5. Day 5: Suzhou: Master of the Nets Garden Tour and overnight train to Shanghai
  6. Day 6: Shanghai: Orientation Walk of the Bund
  7. Day 7: Shanghai: Carte Blanche
  8. Day 8: Fly out of Shanghai

September 2017

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Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My husband, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over 6 years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours,  and experiences to maximize our time. We always try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. CREATION OF THE TRAVELING GINGERBREAD: In Tokyo, we smiled every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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