Morning at the Terracotta Army, Xi'an

You’ll wake up early and be first in line to see one of China’s most revered attractions and one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world. We’re of course talking about the Terracotta Army!

Despite its now iconic status, the Terracotta Army were discovered by complete chance. It was 1974 and what was supposed to be an ordinary well drilling resulted in finding an underground vault containing thousands of terracotta soldiers and horses ready for battle.  Their origin remains up for debate but two popular theories are that the emperor of the day, Qin Shu Huang, was either frightened of conquered spirits waiting for him on the other side or he genuinely expected his rule to continue in the afterlife. Whatever their origin, they offer incredible insight into ancient China.

There are three pits and throughout the morning you’ll get a chance to visit all of them. You’ll start in the smallest one, pit 3, and while it only contains 72 warriors and horses it’s said to be where the headquarters are and it is home to a plethora of high-ranking officers. In pit 2 you’ll find over 1000 soldiers and horses – take a look up close and marvel at the level of detail. Their facial expressions, armour and even hairstyles are all different. You’ll finish up in the biggest, pit 1, where you’ll be bowled over by 2000 sculptures, all facing east and ready for battle. On your way out why not pick up a warrior statue personalised with your own face? Now that’s a souvenir!

Highlights

  • Check out one of the world’s best archaeological discoveries

  • Pick up a unique souvenir

Trips that include this experience

Other things to do in Xi'an