The Terracotta Army Facts

The Terracotta Warrors Terracotta Warrior

Name: Terracotta Warriors and Chariots (秦陵兵马俑; Qínlíng Bīngmǎyǒng /chin-ling bing-mah-yong/)

Literal meaning: ‘Qin tomb soldier and horse burial figurines'


  • Part of one the world’s largest and oldest imperial tomb complexes.
  • Three new museum sites of the total mausoleum complex were opened in October of 2011.
  • The Terracotta Warriors Museum and the Qin Mausoleum are now combined as a single touring park.
  • Among the top 10 favorite sites for international tourists to visit.
  • The life-size terracotta army, horses, and chariots were made to look realistic.
  • About 1,800 statues have been uncovered, but most of the complex remains unexcavated.
  • The complex is about 2,200 years old.
  • 1987 UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Generally considered one of the top archaeological finds of the 20th century.
xian the terra-cotta warriors and horses
Terracotta Warrior and Horse

Popular Sections:

The main Qin Mausoleum hasn’t been excavated and is thought to be under a earthen hill less than two kilometers from the Museum of the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Below are the main sites.

  • Vault 1: discovered in 1974, it has columns of soldiers and chariots in behind (about 210 m x 62 m).
  • Vault 2: discovered in 1976, it is the highlight of the vaults. There are formations of bowmen, cavalry, horsemen, and chariots (about 96 m x 84 m).
  • Vault 3: also discovered in 1976, it is the smallest of the vaults and is thought to be the command center for the army with a war chariot and a detachment of soldiers (21 m x 17 m).
  • Exhibition Hall of the Qinling Bronze Carriage: There are two large bronze carriages with gold and silver parts. Auxiliary museums of Terracotta Acrobats, the Museum of Terracotta Civil Officials, and the Museum of Stone Armor opened in 2011.
  • The tomb and Terracotta Warrior museums have been incorporated as a single park called Lishan Garden.

Two Day Terracotta Warriors and Other Xi'an Attractions Tour

xianthe terra-cotta warriors and horsesTerracotta Army Museum


  • 249 BC It is thought that construction began on the large burial mausoleum for Qin Shi Huang (259 BC – 210 BC) who was the first emperor of the Qin Empire.
  • 210-209 BC Qin Shi Huang died, and thousands of statues were buried with him in pits around his tomb. Construction ended a year after he died when the empire fell into turmoil.
  • 1974 A farmer uncovered a part of the Terracotta Warrior pits.
  • 1979-1994The three main pits were opened to the public.
  • 1987 The Qin Mausoleum and the accompanying vaults of the Terracotta Warriors were named a UNESCO World Heritage.
  • 1999Terracotta acrobats and strongmen were discovered.
  • 2000Terracotta scribes and civil officials were discovered.
  • 2011Three additional museums were opened to the public.
  • Original Purpose: A complex to protect and serve the first emperor of the Qin Empire.
  • Significance: It is considered to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The well preserved artifacts reveal much about the Qin Empire’s technology, military, arts, culture, and military and so help historians to understand those ancient times.


  • Location: about 35 km northeast of central Xi'an (34.39N,109.27E)
  • Height of Burial Mound:It is thought that the burial mound covering his tomb was originally 100 meters high (328 feet), but it has eroded to its present 47 meters (154 feet) height.
  • Total area:The whole burial complex is thought to be bigger than Manhattan, a district of New York City!

Interesting Facts

xian the terra-cotta warriors and horsesTerracotta Army
  • Laborers:Many historians think that 700,000 craftsmen and slaves built the complex.
  • Their deaths:It is thought that all the laborers were put to death to keep the mausoleum a secret along with many others!
  • Construction:The whole complex was built in about 40 years and wasn’t completed.
  • Treasures:It is thought that the underground tomb itself might hold much more treasure and artifacts unless it has been robbed. But it hasn’t been excavated. 2,000 years ago, a historian named Sima Qian wrote that the tomb contained a world with mountains made of gold, stars represented by pearls, jewels, and flowing rivers of mercury.

Additional Information

  • Ticket Price: ~120~150 RMB (17.40~23.60 USD)
  • Hours:08:30-17:30 (March 16 - Nov. 14); 08:30-17:00 (Nov. 15-March 15)