Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xian
Terra-Cotta Warriors Facts
The Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an are a must-see. Find out all about the Terracotta Army: facts, how and why they were made, museum location, tours... The Terracotta Army was constructed to accompany the tomb of China's First Emperor as an afterlife guard. There are thousands of detailed life-size terracotta soldier models represent the guard troops of the first emperor — Qin Shihuang. They were molded in parts, fired, then assembled and painted.
Chinese Name: 秦兵马俑
Type: Culture & Terra-Cotta Warriors
Address: Qinglin Township, Lintong County, Xi'an, Shannxi Province, China.
Best Seasons: All year round
Recommended Visiting Time: about half a day
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:30 (Mar. to Nov.)
8:30-16:30 (Dec. to next Feb.)
Ticket: CNY 120
Why is Terra-Cotta Warriors So Special？
- Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xi’an is: One of the Eighth Wonders of the World (1978); A World Heritage Site (1987); A landmark of Xian City.
- Terracotta Warriors in Xian, known as the eighth wonder of the world, now is a museum to display the terra-cotta warriors and horses which were made in Qin Dynasty.
- The Terracotta Army in Xi’an, aka Terracotta Warriors and Horses, is a super large collection of life-size terra cotta sculptures in battle formations, reproducing the mega imperial guard troops of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210BC), the first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China.
Brief Introduction of The Terra-Cotta Warriors
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi’an, Shaanxi, China. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
History & Construction of Terra-Cotta Warriors
In 221 B.C., Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty established the first centralized feudal dynasty in China. After his death, he was buried at the northern foot of Lishan Hill in the east of Lintong County. The tomb has been reduced to half its size after 2,000 years of water and soil erosion, but still impressive – 76 meters high and a fundamental space of 120,000 square meters.
One unusual detail about the construction of the tomb is that the emperor had the building begin shortly after becoming king of Qin at the age of 13. This action contradicted Confucian wisdom that a son should demonstrate respect for his father by building as impressive a memorial as possible and that a man should never plan his own funeral rites. The tomb took 39 years and 700,000 workers to reach completion. It had pearls embedded in the ceiling to represent the stars, and rivers and lakes were modeled with liquid mercury. The tomb itself has not been opened yet.
Best Time to Go to Terra-Cotta Warriors
All year round. The peak season of traveling to Xi’an is in the spring and autumn. In summer the temperature is high with strong ultraviolet ray. It is easy to cause heat stroke under the blazing sun for quite a long time in outdoor, and sometimes it will rain, so tourists should watch the weather forecast in advance before visiting. What’s more, tourists need to put on sunscreen and try to avoid ultraviolet rays during the day time travel; Winter temperature is low, the wind is piercingly cold, only suitable for indoor attractions visiting.
Main Categories of Figures
There are four main categories of figures in this museum: chariot warriors, infantrymen, cavalrymen, and horses. There are generals, middle ranking officers, lower ranking officers, ordinary soldiers, and armored warriors. The latter can be further divided according to their headgear into warriors with a square scarf, a cylindrical bun, or a flat bun. There are kneeling warriors as well.
What to See inside the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum
The Terracotta Army Museum in Xi’an is a must-see. It is considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. See how to get to the Terracotta Army from Xi’an.
Pit 1 – 2,000 Warriors Displayed
Pit 1 is the largest and most impressive — the size of an airplane hangar. It is believed to contain over 6,000 terracotta figures of soldiers and horses, but less than 2,000 are on display. All the most impressive Terracotta Army pictures were taken in Pit 1.
All soldiers and horses face east in a rectangular array, each one either armed long spear, dragger or halberd. The vanguard appears to be three rows of infantry who stand at the easternmost end of the army. Close behind is the main force of armored soldiers holding weapons, accompanied by 38 horse-driven chariots.
Every figure differs in facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures, providing abundant and detailed artifacts for the study of the military, cultural, and economic history of that period.
Pit 2 – Uncovers the Mystery of the Ancient Army Array
Excavation and restoration is still ongoing at vaults two and three. Excavated in 1976, Pit 2 stands about 20 meters north to Pit 1. As the highlight of the whole mausoleum, it uncovers the mystery of the ancient army array. It consists of four units, measuring 94 meters east to west and 84 meters south to north and 5 meters deep., forming a 6000 sq. meter built-up area.
Pit 3 – Represents the Command Post
Vault Three is the smallest one. There are only 68 terracotta figures, many of which are without heads. It’s obvious that Vault Three represents the command post, as all the figures are officials.
Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Park (Lishan Garden)
Insider’s Suggestion: extra 2 hours, for slow paced travelers, in-depth visit
centering on the burial mound of Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, with several Accessory Pits around, including:
- Pit K0006 – Civil Official Figures
- Pit K0007 – Bronze Aquatic Birds (not open yet)
- Pit K9801 – Stone Armor and Helmets (not open yet)
- Pit K9901 – Acrobatics Figures
How to get to Terra-Cotta Warriors
Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)
If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xi’an in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.
How to get to Terracotta Army from downtown Xi’an
1. The tourist bus line 5 (306) runs from the east square of Xi’an Railway Station to Terracotta Warriors Museum in one hour, costing CNY 7 per person.
Note: Due to some reasons, tourists now need to take tourist bus line 5 (306) at Fangzhicheng Bus Station between 7:00 and 19:00, at the fare of CNY 5. They can take metro line 1 to the terminal stop Fangzhicheng, which is neighboring the Fangzhicheng Bus Station.
2. Bus 307 runs from Tang City Wall Zone 9 Bus Station to the museum in 1.5 hours and costs CNY 8 per person, passing by Tang Paradise, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Banpo Museum Bus Hub, and Huaqing Pool.
3. A taxi from downtown Xi’an to the museum takes 40-50 minutes and costs about CNY 150.
How to get to Terracotta Warriors from Xi’an Airport
1. Take airport shuttle bus to Xi’an Railway Station in one hour, and then take tourist bus line 5 (306) to the museum in another one hour.
2. Take airport shuttle bus to Lintong in one hour, and then take bus Lintong 101 to the museum in 20 minutes.
3. A taxi from Xi’an Airport to Terracotta Army takes 70 minutes and costs about CNY 200.
How to get to Terracotta Warriors from Xi’an North Railway Station
1. Free shuttle buses run between North Railway Station and the museum. A single journey takes one hour.
2. Taxi: 1 hour; about CNY 160.
Useful Travel Tips
hundreds of life-size terracotta soldiers, horses, and chariots in battle array (see How the Terracotta Army Was Made and Its Composition)
- Suited for: history and Chinese culture enthusiasts
- Physical requirements: indoor sightseeing; wheelchair-accessible lifts and corridors are provided
Ticket Price: CNY 120
free for children under 1.4 m (4.6 ft); children taller than 1.4m and under age 16 can enjoy half-price tickets; foreign students studying in China with valid student ID can enjoy half-price tickets.
1. The fare is for the through ticket of Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, including the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Park (Lishan Garden), and the shuttle bus between the two spots available from 8:30 to 18:30.
Visitors need to show identity cards or passports when buying tickets and entering the museum.
Audio Guide Rent: CNY 40 per person; Deposit: CNY 100
- It is better to buy the copies of terracotta warriors on the way out then on the way in, as you will have to take them with you all the visit. And hawkers may offer you a better price.
- It is not allow walking down to the pits. When taking picture, please remember not to use the flash.
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- Small Wild Goose Pagoda
- Tang Paradise
- Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum
- Da Ci’en Temple
- Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum
- Zhaoling Mausoleum
- Xian Ancient City Wall
- Caotang Temple in Huxian
- Xiangji Temple in Xian
- Xianyou Temple Museum
- Xingjiao Temple
- Taiping National Forest Park
- Zhuque National Forest Park