After Banpo Village, I headed to the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang (tomb of emperor qin). It was about 10am by now, and the sun was up high and shinning, and wow, was it scortching hot. Getting out of the air conditioned car feels like walking into an oven.
The mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang is located 5km east of the LinTong county - it covers an area of 57km where over 500 accessroy burial pits, tombs, and other sites related to the mausoleum have been discovered.
Inside the Mausoleum of Qin ShiHuang courtyard.
After you enter the main entrance (entrance fee is $40 yuan), you can borrow an umbrella from the tourist site. In the photo above, I'm carrying a borrow umbrella to block out some of the killer sunlight. The courtyard where I'm standing is right after the main entrance, and there are performances held there occasionally.
Truthfully, there really isn't that much to see at the Mausoleum. Basically, you can walk (or pay for a ride) around the entire hill (which covers Qin Shihuang's tomb), and you can also climb the hill. The real intersting stuff is in the terracotta pits, which is my next stop. But first I need finish my tour of this mausoleum.
You can get on a car ride around the perimeter of the tomb, which cost $8 yuan per person, or you can book the cart for yourself (or your party) for $56 yuan. After the car ride, I started the long climb up the stairs to the top of the hill.
On top of the hill on the mausoleum.
The climb up the hill is quite a long climb - a good 10 to 15 minutes. Up top, you get a fantastic 360 degree view of all the sourroundings, and makes you think that Emperor Qin Shihuang sure picked a good spot to bury himself.
Meet the Farmers Who Discovered the Terra Cotta Pits?
No really, I did meet one of the farmers who discovered the terra cotta pits in the 1970's. This is how it went...
I was chatting with a tour guide of the Mausoleum, they're provided free of service. Got asking some questions and following her around and looking at stuff on display. Then she mentioned to me that one of the farmers who discovered the Terra Cotta pits was on site today signing some autography for an important diplomatic tour group that will be there later on today.
Just my lucky day!
So I met the man, who appears to be in his 70's or 80's, and shook his hand. Then they showed me a book about the Terra cotta warriors and the mausoleum, and told me that I could get it signed, and purchase the book for $150yuan.
"Sounds good! Signed terra cotta warrior book from the original farmer who discovered it for under $20usd", I thought to myself. So without a second thought I bought the book and got his signiture. I also got in a few pictures of me and the farmer signing and stamping my book.
The farmer is signing my book.
I was ecstatic! The man signed his name on the book "Yang Quan Yi", and then put a red stamp beside his signiture that says "dicoverer of the terra cotta warriors" (in Chinese characters of course). The guide then told me that these are the only 3 Chinese letters the man knows how to write, and it was by order of the mayor of Xian some years ago that he was taught to write his own name.
And that's my little story about my encounter.
Now, on hindsight, could this be a hoax to con tourists' money? My initial reaction was to shrug the idea off. Afterall, it was in a state operated, popular tourist destination. Everything seemed, and felt legit. Then again, what are the chances that this could really happen? I'll never know - until the next time I decide to visit Xian. Perhaps then, if this "rare" event happens to me again, I'll have the answer!
(If this was indeed true,) Some of you are probably thinking how could the government be in on this to con money out of tourists? Well, if you come from a western culture and tour China as long as I do, you'll find that ethics is a major problem in China today. Like my accountant tells me, you should always check to see if you still have all you fingers after shaking hand with someone in China.
But don't let this statement get you down, there are still plenty of nice, and sincere people in China.