The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses make up the most significant archeological excavation of the 20th century. Upon ascending to the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of a united China, began the construction of his mausoleum, which took 11 years to finish. Many treasures and sacrificial objects were placed with the emperor to accompany him into the afterlife. The tomb was discovered by a group of peasants in 1974 when they uncovered some pottery while digging for a well.
The State Council built a museum on the site in 1975. Life-sized Terra Cotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the main features of the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard would have looked like during that era.
The museum’s area of 16,300m sq (over 19,000yd sq) is divided into three sections: Pit No. 1, Pit No. 2, and Pit No. 3, named with respect to their order of discovery. Pit No. 1, the largest, was first opened to the public on Chinas National Day, 1979. It contains columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
Pit No. 2, found in 1976, contains over 1,000 warriors and 90 wooden chariots. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. In 1976, archeologists happened upon Pit No. 3, which represents the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot, and 4 horses.
Altogether, over 7,000 clay soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to what is close to their original condition.