January 2, 2013
Today marked the beginning of an exciting tour within Xi’an. We started with visiting the Banpo Museum which lasted roughly two hours. This museum was constructed on the grounds of the actual archeological site predating 4,000 B.C. (over 6,000 years old). The ancient Banpo village represented one of the oldest civilizations in the Neolithic period..
Touring the museum was fascinating in seeing reconstructed models of the huts and actual skeletal remains of the Banpo villagers. The village was a matriarchal society where the men served roles of support. Daily activities consisted of food storage, basket weaving and pottery making. Although this civilization was ancient they had developed an ingenious way of collecting water through gravity based jugs, constructed one of the first kilns, and dug a moat for protection.
It was exciting to see the ruins of such an ancient civilization, especially when considering that our nation is merely 300 years old and this one is over 6000 years old. The museum was well lit and open with reconstructed models allowing for easy visualization of what the settlement looked like. I remember it being very cold in the museum as most of their buildings are open to the outdoors and there being no central heating in China.
Our next stop was the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum. The tour guide was excellent in taking us to a factory where we could buy cheap replicas and learn about how they were made thousands of years ago. We then went to the museum that was built over the archeological site. The ancient warriors were discovered on accident by Chinese farmers in 1974. Since then, archaeologists have recovered over 8 thousand warriors in three major pits that were dug up but they are not done uncovering the ancient relics! In summary the warriors were made to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife. He was the most powerful emperor in China that managed to unite the 6 warring states. We learned about this history while watching a 360 degree theatrical display of the emperor’s reign. Seeing this incredible exhibit was breath taking as the mere size of pit 1 rivals that of Quest field. It is considered the 8th wonder of the world. Walking around the periphery took nearly a half an hour as it spans 754 ft long and 203 ft wide.
We ate lunch at the museum which offered a very nice medley of traditional Chinese dishes and tried a series of interesting fermented drinks including pomegranate, seahorse, saffron and ginseng wolfberry wine.
Later, we had a different drink experience and finalized our Terracotta Warriors adventure by sitting in a teahouse where the servers presented us with a tea tasting of many different teas and gave us handouts in English which discussed the health benefits for each type of tea. What a relaxing ending to the busy day!
By: Crystal LaPorte & David Twietmeyer