When I decided to come to China, THIS was THE thing I intended to see above anything else. China has changed capital cities many times in its 5000 years, but Xi’an is a serious contender for the oldest. It was the capital of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China; the one English gets the word “China” from, the one who unified the previous warring kingdoms, and told everyone in those previous kingdoms they would now all write in one language. He ordered burned all books in any language other than Chinese, and murdered anyone who questioned the emperor’s immortality. He was a mixed bag.
I think what I love most about the army he ordered created for him in the afterlife is that I knew about the army before I knew who it was for. When I mentioned Qin in Canada before leaving, no one knew who I meant…but I’d say “He built the terracotta soldiers,” and “OH, yeah!” Congratulations, Emperor Qin — your army is more famous than you.