Tuesday morning I woke up pretty early because I wanted to have a good day at the Terra-Cotta Museum. The first bus left at 8:30, but between getting on the wrong bus, catching a bus back to the hostel, and grabbing a bus headed in the right direction, and then finding another bus at the railway station, I didn’t make it out to the museum until almost 12. That still gave me close to 5 hours which was plenty. Once you get off the bus, you are hoarded by souvenir vendors, fake tour guides, and taxi drivers. I bought a ticket and then walked the 10 minutes up to the main gate. Once inside I headed to the first building which houses a 1/2 scale bronze casting of a chariot and 4 horses that they dug up in 1980 just off to the side of Emperor Qin’s original tomb (which they still have to enter because of supposed booby traps inside the tomb. Recent probes sent inside show a kind of mercury river and toxic air). The chariot was actually quite impressive, given that the casting was made in early.
Pit 2, and 3 were next. Although impressive, these pits both are still under excavation. Pit 1 also is, but is much more complete. Pits 2,3 show many of the horses, and general statues while Pit 1 is mainly solider statues. Many say to visit Pits 2,3 first because although very cool, Pit 1 is definitely the best and if you do Pit 1 first, you might as well not even bother with the other two. Pit 1 was up next and first off the building is HUGE. Its basically a super long aircraft hanger. The amount of statues that are first visible is amazing. Each statue is individual and has unique facial features, no two are alike. As you walk around you really get a feel for the excavation process as even here there is a lot still to do. At one end there is a “hospital”. Many of the statues that are dug up are often broken and missing pieces. Here they get repaired, dusted off and placed back outside the pit for display. I sat and watch one worker that took about 20 minutes to remove some dirt and uncover a head. Really quite interesting.