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Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China

the terracotta army of emperor qin shi huang s mausoleum

The Terracotta Warriors are the primary reason visitors travel two and a half hours north of Shanghai to Xi’an. This terracotta army of warriors, each with a distinct face after unique troops. Was discovered on March 29, 1974, by farmers digging a well about 1.5 kilometers from the emperor’s tomb.

Pit 1: Terracotta Warriors

By 1979, approximately 9,000 troops had been unearthed. As well as 130 chariots, 520 horses, and another 150 cavalry horses, most of which remained buried.

Life-sized terracotta horse, Xian

However, those discovered have been repaired and reinstalled where they formerly stood. The archeology is still ongoing, which is one of the reasons this place is so popular. With 30,000 visitors on a quiet day and up to 100,000 visitors when the weather is nice.

Lots more restoration still to be done

Ground imagery and core sample revealed that the area is around 98 square kilometers. This army was built to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Han. The first emperor of undivided China from the Qin dynasty. Who ruled from 18 February 259 BC to 10 September* 210 BC.

But, as was customary for nobility at the time, you started building your last resting place while just a youngster. And he did just that. When he was 13, he became King of the Qin dynasty. And began commissioning artisans to construct this massive terracotta army.
Up to 700,000 people were employed in the construction.

After defeating warring kingdoms and uniting China in 221BC. He became a self-titled emperor at the age of 38. And the title has been holding him ever since.

3 pits

The Terracotta Warriors consists of 3 pits: numbers 1, 2, and 3.
Pit number 1
It is the largest of all three and the first one discovered. Here you will find a formation of over six thousand battle-ready terracotta warriors and horses in life sizes. This is the most famous part except for the largest crowd here. It’s also really hard to make a nice photo of yourself with the warriors.


Pit number 2
The units of the warriors in the second pit are more complete. This floor contains various other clay subjects, including cavalry, chariots, and archer array. The most interesting part is the up-close statues of different ranks of terracotta warriors – archer, soldier, general, and horse.


Pit number 3
The smallest part of all three served as the command center. It’s supposed to feature high-level officials. They stand face to face along the passageways to the main hall.

How you can get to Terracotta Warriors from Xi’an? We decided to book a tour with a hotel pick. up, but you can also take a taxi. Keep in mind that the sight is located almost 40 km from the city center of Xi’an. Having said that, the taxi will probably be expensive. 

The best time to visit Terracotta Warriors? The best time to visit is early in the morning before 9 am. Because all the major tours arrive around 10 am. We visited it during the Chinese holidays. Being there early, we didn’t notice bigger crowds than they usually are. In fact, we passed the security and entrance in just a few minutes.

Recommended time: 5 – 6 hours

The Mausoleum Site Museum

 Recommended time: part of the Terracotta Warriors complex

Before leaving the site, stop at the Exhibition Hall, which houses weapons, tools, and other jewels, focusing on the two large-scale bronze replicas of chariots and horses. 

The Bell and Drum Towers

 Recommended time: 10 – 45 minutes (if going inside)

The Bell Tower is one of the first structures you will encounter when you enter the city. It is a historical Ming Dynasty structure that initially served as the heart of Xi’an. The bell denoted the start of the day. While the neighboring Drum Tower signaled sunset (the end of the day) and crises. They look stunning when lit up at night. 

You may get some beautiful views of the city from the summit. A replica of the original 8-foot-tall bell known as the Jingyun Bell may be found inside the Bell Tower. The Drum Tower houses China’s giant drum and local musical acts dressed in traditional clothes. 

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