Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
The First Qin Emperor (259-210 BC), otherwise known as Emperor Ying Zheng, came to the throne of the Qin State at 13, and seized the helm of the state at 22. By 221 BC, when he was only 39 years old, he conquered the six rival principalities and established the first feudal empire in Chinese history.
As soon he took the throne, Ying Zheng ordered that a magnificent mausoleum should be built for him to ensure him a peaceful everlasting sleep. After he seized the power of the Qin in 221 BC, more than 700,000 conscripts were gathered from all parts of the country to work on his mausoleum. In fact, it took 37 years to complete the project.
The mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is located at the foot of Mt. Lishan, about 35 kilometers east of Xi'an. It used to be surrounded by an inner wall and an outer one. It was originally 120metres tall. But over 2,000 years of erosion by wind and rain plus human destruction has reduced it to a height of 46 meters.
In "The Records of the History", Sima Qian recorded, "The outer coffin was cast in molten copper, and the burial chamber was complete with palaces, halls and towers. Fine utensils, precious stones and other rarities were everywhere. Automatic crossbows were fixed to protect the tomb from robbery. The mercury lakes and waterways were built to represent the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and even the vast ocean. The ceiling was decorated with pearls and gems to symbolize the celestial body, including the Sun and the Moon. The entire underground palace was presumably brightly lit by whale oil lamps for ever".
When he died, his son, the Second Qin Emperor, decreed that his father's concubines without children should follow him to the grave. After they were duly buried, there was a suggestion that the artisans responsible for the safety devices knew too much about the contents of the tomb. Therefore, once the coffin was placed in the burial chamber and the burial objects were all sealed up, the gate was closed to imprison all those who had worked inside the tomb. Later, trees and grass were planted all over the mausoleum so that it would look like a natural hill.
According to the archaeological excavation, Sima Qian's description is undoubtedly true, and the underground palace is still intact.
The mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is rich in Cultural artifacts. Besides the terracotta amy painted bronze chariots and horses, there are numerous Qin bricks and tiles of every description around the mausoleum. Experts have confirmed ever since 1982 that there is an intense mercury activity inside the mausoleum. We can therefore conclude that, what is described as "rivers and seas of mercury" in "The Records of the History" is reliable and true. According to the archaeological survey, the burial chamber has not been plundered or even broken into. With advances in technology, especially archaeological technology, all the treasures under ground will be exposed to the world. It will unarguably create a sensation in the field of archaeology all over the world.
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