The Terracotta /Entombed Warriors are the first thing many think of when they hear the name Xi'an.
This is a pity because the city is so much more than an ego-maniacal emperor's memorial edifice, being the start of the Silk Road and thus a link for China and the rest of the world. Through its heavily fortified city gates and ancient walls passed merchants and missionaries, camels and silk, adventurers and mystics. During our tour we'll have the chance to walk or cycle these walls, explore the fortifications and then in the numerous tea-shops, cafes and bars built in its shade, wonder at once was.
Using one of those Chinahacks for which Sino-Immersions is renowned, we'll also make sure to get out to the Warriors long before the rest of the madding crowd and pause in quiet reflection before a raucous new wave of flag-waving, microphone wielding warriors breaks upon the ramparts.
Xi'an was the capital of four different Chinese dynasties, including two of the greatest in terms of political power and cultural capital, the Qin and the Tang. It has a museum of antiquities and another museum that houses a Nestorian Christian Stele dating back to the 8th century. Elsewhere is the Great Wild Goose pagoda, which was first built in the 600s to house the sacred scriptures brought back from India by the famous Chinese Buddhist monk, Xuanzang.
The inner city also has a number of older buildings, especially the Drum and Bell Towers, which are also in the heart of the vibrant Muslim Food Market, which has been going for centuries and is a constant mix of aromas, sounds and sights. The pomengranite juice was especially good.
We'll spend some good time in Xi'an, cycling, touring, dining, relaxing and even bringing in the New Year on our Immersed in China's Winter Tour. Xi'an also features on numerous of our other tours, including our Immersed in China's Springtime.
For centuries, these terracotta warriors remained faithfully on guard, silently gathered under a burial mound outside Xi'an. Since their discovery in 1974 they've been gazing out at us.