World Heritage #0441 – Xian

Last updated Mar 28, 2022 | Published on Mar 11, 1985China, North, Central and East Asia, World Heritage Sites

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The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is the official name of this site. Think about terracotta soldiers in Xian and you know what it is. 

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes over a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

 

Official facts

  • Full name of site: Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  • Country: China
  • Date of Inscription: 1987
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 441:

“No doubt thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.), the first unifier of China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors, at the centre of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyan. The small figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest.”

 

My visit

We find the terracotta soldiers in large numbers in the central Chinese city of Xian. They are truly amazing, and obviously an extension of a great ego-centric emperor. The title of this site may sound a bit cryptic though.

I came there eleven years after the discovery of the soldiers and they have no doubt excavated many more soldiers since. Still there were a lot to see, leaving a question of who on Earth came up with the idea to make full-size statues of a complete army with individual facial characteristics, and why?

Read more about my visit. 

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