The vaults or pits containing Qin Shihuang`s Terracotta
Army are located just outside Xian. This army of more than 6,000
life size terracotta warriors, with horses and chariots lined up
facing east and ready for battle, is one of the world’s most remarkable
The terracotta warriors were made for Qin Shihuang
(259-210BC),also known as The First Emperor, and with his mausoleum
lying only 1.5km, (0.9 miles) away it is assumed the army was made
to accompany him on his journeys after death.
The statues were built over 2,000 years ago from
the local clay. Each warrior’s face was carved individually and
no two faces are the same. Many warriors clearly belong to China’s
minority groups, which is significant as Qin Shihuang was the first
emperor to unify China.
After standing in waiting underground in their forgotten vault for over a thousand years, the Terracotta Army was uncovered by chance in 1974 by some local farmers trying to sink a new well. Since then three pits containing soldiers and artifacts have been slowly and carefully excavated. The three vaults or pits are protected by large hangar type structures and the process of excavating the army is an ongoing task.
Pit 1 has an area of 14,600 sq meters and has the largest group of terracotta warriors at the site on parade in 210 meter (689 ft) long trenches. There are also exhibits of the army’s terracotta horses, bronze swords, spears, crossbows and other weapons.
Pit 2 has an area of 6,000 sq meters and contains about 1,000 pottery men and horses.
Pit 3 is only 500 sq meters large and has 68 warriors and many bronze weapons. It is thought to be the headquarters of the terracotta army and these warriors were in command of the soldiers in the other pits as they protected Qin Shihuang in the underworld.