The first emperor of a unified China, Qin Shi Huang, has slept underground with thousands of troops for over 2,000 years. When standing in front of the terracotta army, visitors are astonished by its strong, imposing manner. People can't help but to be convinced that perhaps Qin Shi Huang is still dominating his country in the underground world.
Now such an important national treasure, the terracotta warriors were discovered by local farmers in 1974. As soon as the terracotta warriors came to light, the site became the focus of the world and has been regarded as the most significant finding of the 20th century.
Why Do You Visit the Terracotta Army ?
- To explore the most significant archeological finding of the 20th century, and you will know why the Terracotta Army is so amazing.
- You will have a chance to witness " the Eighth wonder of the world".
- Experience the mysterious and ancient Qin Dynasty by visiting the Terracotta Army.
- Explore the reasons why it can be listed on the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
- Feel the breath of the splendid history of China by exploring the Terracotta Army, which is regarded as the most representative witness in the history of Xi'an.
Facts Should Know Before Visiting the Terracotta Army
- Location: Lintong District, Xi'an. It's 1.5 kilometers east of the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
- Opening hours: 8:30am–5:30pm
- Visiting hours: about 3 hours
- Ticket price: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30), RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February).
Top 5 Things You Probably Don't Know About the Terracotta Army
1. Who Made It and Why?
Who commanded to build the Terracotta Army? The answer is Qin Shi Huang, and the history of China can't ignore this great pioneer. The ambitious man, who conquered and unified six states in only 10 years, became the first emperor of a unified China.
Why did he make it? The most important reason was to show off his great undertaking. Qin Shi Huang always showed off to others that he was the greatest man in the world. Therefore, he intended to build the most luxurious and largest tomb for himself; and the terracotta warriors were just a part of it. The most glorious days in his life occurred on the battlefield while the soldiers and horses were the most representative of war.
Why were the emperors so interested in building their tombs? An astonishing fact is that the number of sacrificial offerings reflected the wealth and influence of the dead. The terracotta warriors comprised over 8,000 statues and 100,000 weapons.
2. Major Types of Terracotta Warriors
The figures are divided into two sections according to their different identities: soldiers and high-ranking officers. The soldiers are divided into three types: infantry, cavalry, and vehicular soldiers. Every type is designed differently according to their status:
- Warriors on Chariot: There were two warriors in a chariot, a warrior on the left and a warrior on the right. During an ancient war, they would wear a robe covered in armor, fix their hair in a bun, and hold a spear.
- Standing Archers: They stood in front of the army and shot arrows at their enemies. They dressed in lightweight clothes, fixed their hair in a bun, and each held a bow and arrows.
- Kneeling Archers: They were usually kneeling in the heart of the military matrix and were responsible for shooting arrows. There were 160 kneeling archers unearthed there. The kneeling figurines are very precious as they have retained their colors and are complete statues.
- Warriors: They are the main component of the terracotta warriors and horses. The average statue is 1.8meters high, which is taller than a normal Chinese adult.
- Middle-ranking officers: Their status was between the common soldiers and the army generals. Their bodies have a stronger look and you can feel their solemnity.
- Cavalrymen: Those cavalrymen were unearthed in Pit 2. They were the brave soldiers who rode with one hand holding onto their horse and the other hand holding a bow. To ride quickly, they usually wore tight-fitting clothes, a pair of boots, and a hat.
- Charioteers: They were responsible for driving chariots, which were regarded as the most important role of a war. Therefore, to ensure its safety— they were protected by armor from head to foot.
3. Exhibits of the Famous Three Pits
There are four pits holding the terracotta warriors in total, but one of the pits is unfinished. Each pit has a different size and contains different soldiers:
- Pit1 — the Largest Pit
Pit 1 is located to the south of the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. It is the largest pit and covers 13,260 square meters. There are over 6,000 individual figures(there are 8,000 figures in total) and 50 chariots.
- Pit 2— the Most Spectacular Military Array
Pit 2 is located to the northeast of Pit 1. There are 1,300 figures and more than 80 chariots. Pit 2 boasts various types of soldiers, including cavalry, charioteers, infantry, and crossbowmen. The complex layout and the amazing army units have made it became the most spectacular pit.
- Pit 3—the Headquarters of the Three Pits
Pit 3 is located to the northwest side of Pit 1. It is the headquarters of the three pits, although there are only 68 terracotta warriors and horses in it. The most precious factor is that it is the only pit which has never been burned.
4. No Two Soldiers Are Alike
No two soldiers are alike even though there are more than 8,000 sculptures. They have different out fits, postures, hair, and even facial expressions, showing the huge scale of the project. Craftsmen made the sculptures according to real soldiers, so that every model was different. Qin Shi Huang raised troops from all corners of the country after he unified the six states. Different areas and different soldiers resulted in different statues.
5. The Figures Were Colorful
Why do the terracotta warriors look so plain? Actually, they used to be colorful. Their hair was black, their faces were pink, and their clothes had bright colors. They were decorated in more than 10 colors, including pink, blue, black, and green. The colorful figures were beautiful and vivid— they were the pride of their army and country.
Spring (March, April, and May) and autumn (September, October, and November) are very popular travel seasons. Enjoy the comfortable weather and see the beautiful scenery. Try to avoid the official Chinese holidays, such as Labor Day(May 1st-May 3rd) and National Day(October 1st-October 7th). Bear in mind that get out early to avoid the crowds. There are too many tours after 10am, and the peak time for traveling is in the afternoon.
How to Go to the Terracotta Army?
- It is easy for travelers to find buses to get there at the Xi'an Railway Station. It usually costs RMB 7 per person. Be sure to get off at the last station(the last station is the Terracotta Army).
- Bus Line: Bus 5 or bus 306.
- How long to get there: about 1 hour
Take a Taxi
- Take a taxi is another way to arrive there. It takes about 150 RMB from the downtown to the Terracotta Army. Be careful the " black taxi", some of taxi drivers are relatively inexperienced. Sometimes, they’ll use a fake meter rigged to produce more rates. If you have to take a taxi, try your best to bargain with your taxi driver!
Hire a Tour Guide
It's difficult for visitors to get a better understanding of the Terracotta Army without a professional guide. The guide will show you the interesting stories, history, cultures behind the boring statues. When you are buying your ticket, lots of tour guides will come to you. After making a comparison, choose a kind, friendly, knowledgeable guide at a reasonable price (about RMB 100-150).
Be Careful the Shops
There are lots of shops in the Terracotta Army. You may be attracted by some cute figures, delicate handicrafts, and interesting local souvenirs. Be sure to bargain at half the price of the goods and make a comparison with other shops. Only in this way can you escape the traps of sellers and save your money.
Don't Forget to Bring Your Passport
From 1 October, 2017, you should use your valid passport if you want to get a Terracotta Army's ticket. You can also order tickets online in advance, so you will have more time to enjoy visiting.
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Whether your time is limited or you just want to experience the most authentic history and culture, Trippest has prepared some boutique tours (mini group tours with no more than 6 travelers) for you: