Trip Review for China

Mausoleum of the Emperor Qin Shihuang and Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses

Comments of the World Heritage Committee

No doubt thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC), the first emperor of China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terra-cotta warriors, at the center of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyang. The figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest.

Brief Introduction

The Mausoleum of the Emperor Qin Shihuang, located at the northern foot of the Lishan Mountain five kilometers east of Lintong District, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, is the final resting place of the first emperor in the history of China. Its construction lasted for 38 years, commencing in 246 BC. With an area of 56.25 square kilometers, it is the largest mausoleum in China’s history.

Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC) founded the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), the first unified multi-ethnic centralized feudal dynasty in China. His mausoleum, in a dual rectangular shape, was built in imitation of the layout of Xianyang, the capital of the Qin Dynasty. Centered on the mound, it is comprised of the underground palace, inner city, outer city and periphery of the outer city. Corresponding to the imperial palace, buildings for sacrifice such as the imperial hall and honor guards of carriages and horses are distributed between the palace and inner city. Between the inner city wall and outer are the sites of stalls, gardens, temples and the houses of officials. The funerary pits, including those of the terra-cotta warriors and horses, are located in the periphery of the outer city. Over 50,000 important historical cultural relics have been unearthed there. The underground palace, located directly beneath the mound, is the core of the mausoleum, housing the coffin of the Emperor Qin Shihuang at its center.

The three pits of terra-cotta warriors and horses that have so far been unearthed are situated 1,500 meters east of the cemetery, and contain more than 8,000 terra-cotta figurines and horses and over 40,000 bronze weapons. They are arranged in the shape of the Chinese character “w”, of which Pit 1, discovered in 1974, is the largest, with a length of 230 meters from east to west, a width of 62 meters from south to north and a depth of about five meters. The whole is comprised of a long corridor and 11 aisles, and here we find over 6,000 terra-cotta warrior figurines with horses pulling chariots, all life-sized, arranged in phalanxes and varying in expression. Pit 3 is considered by experts to represent the high command post of Pits 1 and 2.


Tourist Information


One can take the public bus No. 306 from the square in front of the Xi’an Railway Station to the scenic area. For those tourists with a private car, it is advisable to drive first along the Xi’an-Tongguan Expressway to get to Lintong District. The Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang is only three kilometers further on; the Terra-cotta Warrior Museum another four kilometers.


Other Information

Admission for Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang: 70 yuan

Opening Hours: 07:30-18:30

Comments are closed.