If you happen to find yourself Xi’an, you simply cannot leave town without visiting the excellent Shaanxi History Museum, one of the best we’ve come across in China. Some of the best preserved terracotta warriors are housed in a special gallery where you can admire them from an astonishingly close distance. The different styles of dress and armor are clearly visible and the back wall illustrates how every single figure was crafted with a unique face. The warriors and their horses are so life-like that I half expected them to start moving like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie.
There are several other tombs in the region in addition to that of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, whose terracotta army we now flock to Xi’an to see. Many precious artifacts have been unearthed from these ancient tombs, including these intricate and varied figurines.
Other exhibits include household items that give us glimpses of daily life for the ruling elite. There were piles of gold discs that were bestowed as rewards, gold and porcelain bowls, jade jewelry, drinking vessels and even ceramic pillows.
Tickets are free, so queue up early and bring your passport as identification is mandatory. The museum supposedly limits the number of tickets issued each day, although all evidence pointed to the contrary.
Shaanxi History Museum Address: 91 Xiaozhai Dong Lu, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China Entrance Fee: None - passport required