The Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses are world famous, attracting a large number of tourists from home and abroad to visit each year. However, they are only a part of the yet unexcavated mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang located to its west. Inside it, greater things are yet to come.
|Qinshihuang's Mausoleum || |
|Gravestone of Emperor Qin Shihuang |
Qin Shi Huangdi (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry up on building his royal tomb. It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor,saw his entombment.
|Map of Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum |
(Click to enlarge)
The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xian: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy. The imperial tomb is at the eye of the dragon. The emperor had chosen well.
In size, the mausoleum is larger than the Great pyramid in Egypt. Seen from afar, it is a hill overgrown with vegetation. It is believed that the tomb consists of an interior city and an exterior city. Its exterior is a low earth pyramid with a wide base. In 2000 years, the original 100-meter-high (328 feet) hillock has been weathered down to about 47 meters (154 feet) high, 515 meters (1,690 feet) long from south to north and 485 meters (1,591 feet) wide east to west. In an area of 2,180,000 square meters (less than one square miles), many large-scale alhambresque buildings housing precious treasures are said to be buried inside the tomb.
|Qin Caly Figure Soldiers || |
|Site of the Mausoleum |
The labourers came from three groups of people. The first were the craftsmen. The second were the prisoners. The third were the people working to repay a debt. These people had violated the rules at that time and had to pay a fine. But with no money to pay fines, they were forced to build the mausoleum. According to historical records, the mausoleum was a notorious crime scene. Many laborers died of hardship during its construction, and all the workmen were entombed along with the emperor in order to keep their mouths shut.
Also all the barren royal concubines accompanied Emperor Qin Shi Huang
on his last journey.
Sima Qian, a great historian who wrote in early Han dynasty, offered archeologists great insight on the mausoleum's construction. We learned from him that the tomb is huge. The coffin of Qin Shi Huang was cast in bronze. Underground Palace was gem-studded replica of imperial housing above ground. Moreover, booby traps with automatic-shooting arrows were installed to deter would-be tomb robbers. Heaven and earth were represented in the central chamber of the tomb. Ceiling shaped into sun, moon and stars by inlaying pearls and gems symbolizes the sky and the ground was an accumulation point of rivers, lakes and seas, like Yellow River and Yangtze River, which stands for the earth. It is said that the underground palace was brightly lit by whale oil lamps for eternity. Nowadays, the records in this book have been definitely proved right by archaeological findings and the underground palace of the tomb is presumably well preserved.
As a part of the mausoleum, the terracotta warriors have dazzled the world. But the materials unexcavated are also worth studying. Qin bricks and tiles, engraved with decorative patterns, are strew everywhere around the tomb. There are many satellite tombs built for accompanying Qin Shi Huang. Ministers, princesses and princes, the famous and the not so famous were inhumed there. The burial pits for horses, rare birds and pottery figures were ever regarded as the sacrificial objects to the emperor. Hence the remains from these tombs and pits are beneficial for archaeologists to make further research.
Remains of the Mausoleum
Hopefully one day, the entire mausoleum will be unearthed and displayed to the public.
|Specific Bricks of Qin Dynasty || |
|Bronze Swan Goose |
Take tourism bus no. 5 (306) from east square of Xian Railway Station and get off at Bing Ma Yong (Terracotta Army Museum) stop. The whole journey takes one hour, and the fare is CNY7.
Take bus 307, which departs from Tangchengqiang Jiuqu Hub, and passes Tang Paradise and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The whole line takes 2.5 hours and costs CNY 8.
Take bus no.101 to Qinling Station. Xian Bus Search
Battery-powered motor vehicles and ancient-style carriage are available for visitors to tour around the mausoleum;
30 free shuttle buses are traveling between the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses for tourists' convenience. One can take them by showing the entrance ticket.
|Admission Fee: || |
March 1 - end of November: CNY150
December 1 - end of February: CNY120
The fare is for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Park Through Ticket including the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Lishan Garden (Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Park) and shuttle buses inside the scenic area.
|Opening Hours: ||March 16 to November 15: sell ticket from 08:30 to 17:00, stop check-in at 18:00; |
November 16 to March 15: sell ticket from 08:30 to 16:30, stop check-in at 17:30