What began as a display of pomp and wealth turned into an exhibition of grandeur and prolific artisanship. The mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Qinshihuang, in Xian city is an attraction not to be missed.

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Alexander Schimmeck,CC0

Mausoleum Site Park

Located at the foot of Lishan Mountain, this 558-acre park is a short drive from the city of Xian. Accommodation is not hard to find as hotel and apartment options are endless in Xian, including Somerset Xindicheng Xi’an. The Park contains attractions such as the emperor’s tomb and museums featuring terracotta acrobatics, civil officials, stone armour and bronze horses.

The tomb

Legend has it that the mausoleum is more of an underground palace replete with precious stones, rivers of mercury and innovative defence systems. It is depicted by an earthen mound since an excavation of the tomb may destroy the fragile relics beneath.

Museums around the tomb

Be sure to explore the museums surrounding the tomb, including the Museum of Civil Officials. The museums showcase a bygone era with its terracotta artefacts, bronze weapons and wooden chariots.

The terracotta warriors

This accidentally discovered archaeological wonder, situated 1.5km east of the tomb, is breathtaking. Composed of 3 separate pits, the extraordinary craftsmanship of these relics can be seen in their detail. Each warrior has a different facial expression. Likewise, the various military units and ranks are gleaned from their hairstyle, armour and uniform. It is a terracotta re-enactment of an army ready for war.