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Tomb of Qin Shihuang

When Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China ascended the throne of Qin, construction of his final resting place began immediately. But when the emperor had conquered on an unprecedented scale and continued for 36 of the 37 years of his reign. Today the tomb of the Emperor is the reason to come to Xian.

Tomb of Qin Shihuang, Xian Tours

Tomb of Qin Shihuang, Xian ToursTomb of Qin Shihuang, Xian Tours

The tomb itself is covered by a huge mound of earth and is situated 1 km north of Mt. Lishan. The tomb has not been excavated and there is no clear knowledge as to what is inside. But the Historical Records of Sima Qian, a famous historian of the 2nd century BC, relate that the tomb containers palaces and pavilions filled with rare gems and other treasures and equipped with crossbows which could shoot automatically at intruders.

Tomb of Qin Shihuang, Xian ToursThe ceiling was inlaid with pearls to simulate the sun, the stars and the moon; gold and silver cat in the form of wild geese and ducks were arranged on the floor, and precious stones were carved into pines. The walls of the tomb are said to be lined with plates of bronze to keep out underground water. Mercury was pumped in to create images of flowing rivers and the surging oceans. At the end of the internment rites, all the artisans who worked inside and all the palace maids who had no children were forced to remain in the underground palace- buried alive so that none of its secrets could be revealed.

As to the size of the entire necropolis, a Ming dynasty author in Notes about Mount Lishan states that the sanctuary of the mausoleum has four gates and a circumference of 2.5 km, and that the outer wall has a perimeter of six km. Modern surveys of the site show that the necropolis is indeed divided into an inner sanctuary and an outer city, and measurements of he inner and outer walls closely match the figures of the Ming author. The southern part of the complex is marked by a large mound of rammed earth below which the emperor is buried. The mound is 40 meters high and at the bottom measures 485 by 551 meters. It's now planted with low trees and surrounded by fields.

If you have a visit to the Tomb of Qin Shihuan please note that it is also called the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang or Qin Shihuang Ling.

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