Terracotta Army Facts

Terracotta Warriors Pit 1

Terracotta Warriors Pit 1 is the largest pit of the underground Terracotta Army. Inside it, there are over 6,000 terracotta warriors and horses including infantry, cavalry and chariot warriors. They are life-like and life-sized, and arranged in a battle formation.
Pit 1 of Terracotta Army
 Terracotta Warriors Pit 1 Pictures

This pit was discovered by local villagers in March 1974. They found fragments of terracotta warriors and many bronze weapons after being buried underground for over 2,000 years. After careful excavations on the Terracotta Army Pit 1, a large arched hall with an area of 16,000 square meters (19,136 square yards) was built above the pit in 1976 for the purpose of protection. On October 1st, 1979, this Pit was opened to the public.

How Does the Terracotta Warriors Pit 1 Look Like?

Terracotta Army Pit 1 is an east-west rectangular pit, measuring 230 meters (252 yards) long, 62 meters (68 yards) wide and 4.5 to 6.5 meters (15 to 21 feet) deep. With an area of 14,260 square meters (17,055 square yards), it is the largest pit in the burial ground of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. There are five sloping entrances on both the eastern and western sides. Two side doors are installed on the northern and southern sides. About every three meters (3.3 yards), there is a partition wall, which separates the underground army into different columns. The walls were fortified with wooden columns, earth and reeds while the floor was covered with caesious bricks. Some bricks are orange, decorated and engraved with string patterns and a few characters respectively. 

The archeological excavations found burned traces of black charcoal in Pit 1. Some experts guess that it could be Xiang Yu – overlord in the West Chu Period (232 – 202 BC), who set fire to the pit, which caused the pit to collapse and many terracotta warriors and horses being destroyed.

Read more: 
Why are there partition walls in the pit of Terracotta Army?

How did the Terracotta Army get burnt and destroyed? 
Shaanxi Terra Cotta Warriors Museum - Pit 1
Shaanxi Terracotta Warriors Museum - Pit 1
Terracotta army partitioned by walls
Terracotta Soldiers and Horses in Pit 1
Third Excavation of Pit 1
Third Excavation of Pit 1
Terracotta Warriors Pit
Broken Terracotta Figures in Pit 1

What to See Inside Terracotta Warriors Pit 1?

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

There are over 6,000 terracotta warriors and horses in Pit No. 1, of which 1,000 have been unearthed. Every soldier and horse inside the pit is life-like and life-sized, recapturing the formidable army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Some soldiers are not armed at all, considered to be the bravest ones; some are light armed with a piece of stone armor; and some believed to be high-rank officers are armed with leather armor. All the pottery figurines and horses are different because they have dissimilar hair styles, attires and gestures. Even each soldier's facial expressions are disparate, too. 
Figures of Terracotta Warrior and Horses
Figures of Terracotta Warrior and Horses
A Plait of Braided Hair
A Plait of Braided Hair

Military Formation 

The army inside Pit 1is mainly composed of the infantry, cavalry, chariot soldiers and archers, and they are marshaled into a well-organized battle array in the pit. To the east of Pit 1, the vanguard includes more than 200 archers divided equally into three lines. The infantry and cavalry as well as war chariot follow close in line, forming the main body of the battle formation. The foot soldiers are alternated with the chariots drawn by horses, lined into 38 columns. On both the northern and southern sides of the war formation stand 180 warriors which serve as flank guards. The rear guards are on the western end, with two lines facing east and another facing west. 

Military Formation of Terracotta Army Pit 1


During the excavation, in addition to the terracotta warriors and horses, archeologists discovered a variety of different weaponry including bronze swords, spears, crossbows, arrows and billhooks. Among them, Qin crossbow is regarded as the King of Cold Weapons.


From the ticket office, you can walk southwards for about 500 meters (550 yards). Then turn right to walk for another 500 meters (550 yards) to find the entrance of pit 1. 

While entering from its east main gate, you can have a full view of the whole pit from the front side. Then go farther south, more details of the terracotta warriors and horses can be seen. The exit is in the northwest corner. After getting out, you can find the entrance of the Pit 3 not far away. Opposite to the exit of Pit 3 is the entrance of Pit 2.  

 Recommended Tour Itinerary:
Terracotta Warriors Tour: One-day to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more
More Xi'an Tours

Next: The Third Excavation of Pit 1

- Last updated on Mar. 08, 2024 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on Terracotta Warriors Pit 1
Asked by Susan from USA | Jul. 19, 2021 17:30Reply
Terracota Army soldier statue
I bought a statue and it resembles a terracota statue like the soldiers found buried but this one is about 3 1/2 feet tall and is holding a round tray. Do you know anything about this statue ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Alice | Jul. 26, 2021 01:01

I think it should be a replica.
Asked by Annabeth from HONG KONG | Dec. 18, 2015 21:00Reply
why are the faces of each and every terracotta warrior unique?
Answers (2)
Answered by David | Dec. 19, 2015 01:12

They are totally man made, making it impossible to make same ones. Also, they are the expressions of the then real life, hence different from each other.
Answered by rhia xx | Jun. 02, 2023 23:08

They are unique because it resembles a real life army, they wanted it to be an exact replica of the real life army, even the weapons are functional :)
Asked by Jack from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 08, 2015 02:21Reply
How much of the total site has been excavated?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ling from SINGAPORE | Aug. 08, 2015 03:22

Covering an area of 16,300 square meters, there are totally three pits (No.1, No.2 and No.3) has been excavated. Also, these pits are not wholly excavated, only partly.
Asked by Jayden from USA | May. 01, 2015 10:51Reply
How did the local villagers find the Terra Cotta warriors in Xi'an?
Answers (2)
Answered by Joe from PAKISTAN | May. 02, 2015 02:17

The local famers discovered the relic when drilling wells.
Answered by Grace from USA | May. 20, 2016 18:11

The farmers were digging to make a well and they discovered the terracotta army on accident!
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