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Xian Terracotta Warriors

terracotta warriorArguably one of China's most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta warriors (bingmayong) are among the top archaeological excavations of the 20th Century. The warriors have made Xian the big tourist destination that it is today and the wealth in this city owes much to their discovery.

This incredible collection of 6,000 men and their horses was actually discovered completely by accident by a group of peasants in 1974 who were digging a well! The warriors are over 2000 years old and were originally constructed to protect the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The Warriors are now housed in a huge airplane hangar. Despite their fame and the throngs of tourists visiting the site, they are still incredibly impressive. These life size warriors stand on guard as if preparing for battle. Historians believe that these magnificent men were originally painted.

The paint has now worn and the original bronze age weapons that many of the soldiers carried only a few years ago, are now locked up away from public eyes. Although there are 6000 of the statues remaining, there were actually many more when the tomb was first built. Photography is forbidden here and if caught, the guards will confiscate your film so watch out.

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