Turkish Airlines have announced that they have increased direct flights from the city of Istanbul to the historical Silk Road city of Xi’an. They now fly four times a week to the province in China, which is also the home of the famous Terracotta Army. The first flights began on December 30.
China and Chinese tourists in Turkey
Xi’an is the fifth destination in mainland China that Turkish Airlines will fly to. This city plays host to more than two million visitors a year, with the 3,000 years of history being one of the reasons for people to visit. The other destinations Turkish Airlines flies to are Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing. From January to November 2019, the number of Chinese visitors to Turkey increased by 9% to total 403,739.
UNESCO World Heritage site
Situated 1,000km from Beijing, Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China. The underground Terracotta Army, which was built in 210 B.C, is what has made this area of China so famous. The mausoleum of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang is where tourists flock to from all around the world to see over 8,000 clay soldiers housed in the museum.
The clay soldiers in the grave in Xi’an are identical to the soldiers who were in the empire’s army. The statues vary in size from 183cm up to 195cm. Dressed in their personal armor with their hair in buns; the soldiers appear to be ready to fight. The reason the emperor built the underground grave was because of a belief that the soldiers would protect him when he died. There are several of the soldiers on display at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
Although just 65 of the 600 pits have been uncovered, it is believed that the construction of the grave for the emperor took 37 years, with approximately 700,000 people working on it. The army was spread out in graves over an area that spans 98 square kilometres. Arrowheads, axes, machetes, shields, spears and swords have all been discovered along with 40,000 bronze weapon parts.
In 1974, the army was uncovered in the district of Lintong by local farmers whilst they were drilling wells. The grave was also home to 150 calvary horses, 520 mounted troops, 130 chariots, as well as other equipment and tools that include instruments from war.
There are many sculptures yet to be excavated, however these have been untouched to ensure their chemistry is not damaged until there is new analytic technology available to use. Since the terracotta army was excavated there has been flaking of some of their painted areas.
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