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Terracotta warriors in Xuzhou? Yes there are! They are from the Han Dynasty and the ones close to Xi’an being from the Qin Dynasty. My recent trip in China brought me two nights to Xuzhou to make a one day trip to Qufu and the other day see the most unique sites in Xuzhou. It’s worth a visit if you visit China often or are doing a trip along the Shanghai – Beijing railway. Join me on a tour back in history to the Han Dynasty!
TIP! If you buy train tickets make sure they are to Xuzhou and not Suzhou as its pronounced almost the same.
Guishan Han Tomb
The Han Dynasty is one of the more important dynasties in Chinese history and marked as a golden age. It lasted for four centuries and in that time a lot of achievements were made on various scientific topics. Also the Chinese Han Script was established and the majority of current Chinese people refer to themselves as Han people. The Han Dynasty came after the Qin Dynasty and before the three kingdoms period. Early morning I chartered a taxi at the hotel to drive me around town so I would save some time. My first stop was at the Guishan Han Tomb which is a tomb of such beauty I had not seen before.
The Guishan Han Tomb is the tomb of the sixth king of the Han Dynasty called Chu Liu Zhu and his wife. It is hand carved inside the Guishan Mountain and with such perfection that it’s almost impossible to believe they could have made this without advanced machinery. There are two entrances to the tomb which are parallel and end in the inner part. Here you find fifteen rooms like bedrooms, stable, kitchen and more making it an underground palace. The whole tomb takes up almost the full mountain and for sure is the best and most beautiful one I have ever seen. There is some earthenware left and the weapons, statues and the casket are all replicas. I did not have time to go to the Xuzhou museum but there you can see golden, bronze and jade artifacts uncovered in the tomb. Interesting to see is how the doors were closed by piling up heavy stone plates (see one of the pictures in the gallery below). I spend about 30-40 minutes inside after which I left to go see the terracotta warriors of the Han Dynasty.
Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Han Dynasty
I arrived at the site of the terracotta warriors around 11:00 AM and I just had enough time to see the place. The temple at the top of the mountain I had to skip but it wasn’t that important anyway. I came for the terracotta warriors and the tomb of the second Chu Prince Liu Yingke. When I entered the tomb I was a bit disappointed by the beauty of this tomb compared to the Guishan tomb. The mausoleum is huge that’s for sure but to me it looked just a bit less interesting as the one I saw earlier that morning. It took me just 15 minutes to see it and I continued to the terracotta warriors of which I had high expectations.
Most people know about the Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors in Xi’an as they are world-famous. I saw those some years back. When I learned that in Xuzhou you can see the only excavated terracotta warriors of the Han Dynasty I could not resist to plan this in for my trip in that area. Compared to the statues in Xi’an they are a bit smaller, about 40 centimeters tall. They are very detailed and some are standing, some on their knees and some sitting. With military backpacks, bow and arrow and much more other details they are perfect examples of the fact that artists in the Han Dynasty paid much attention to details. At the museum there are three pits of which one is fully unearthed and restored, the other is empty and the last with dirt still between the statues. I found them worth my visit even though I spend just 20 minutes to see them. The details are amazingly fine and the warriors in attack position give an insight in how the military would have looked like in that period of time.
From the main pit I continued to the pit with horses where the horses of the army protecting the Chu Prince can be found. This pit is actually submerged but a museum is built around it so you can enter and see the horses. It gives a nice insight in how the military worked in the Han Dynasty. Just outside the terracotta horses museum you can see the tomb carvings. These beautiful carvings show pictures in a cartoon form of the way of living, warfare and mythical stories.
Is Xuzhou worth visiting?
If you ask me if Xuzhou is worth visiting I will tell you yes! However, it depends on what you like. If you want to see the highlights of China, than skip it. Are you into the history and cultural sites then for sure plan it in during one of your trips. The prices in Xuzhou are low compared to cities as Beijing and Shanghai that’s a fact but the city itself is just another big Chinese city with development everywhere. The two places I visited are most important but there are a few scenic spots in the area like the Quanshan and Yunlong Mountain which are nice places to go. The Xuzhou museum must be worth a visit too but unfortunately I did not have the time due to my day trip to Qufu the other day. Xuzhou combined with Jinan and Taishan Mountain along the Shanghai – Beijing railway make up a nice itinerary of 5 – 6 days. I’m into these off the beaten track places and if you are too I can definitely recommend Xuzhou.
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Gallery Han Dynasty in Xuzhou
Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.