Mausoleum of First Emperor Qinshihuang

Pyramids in Egypt is the largest on-ground king mausoleum in the world while the Mausoleum of First Emperor Qinshihuang is the largest underground emperor mausoleum. In 1961, it was listed as a key cultural relic under state protection, and in 1987 it was inscribed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

Located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xi'an City, the Mausoleum of First Emperor Qinshihuang enjoys a perfect Fengshui with Wei River in front and Lishan Mountain towering behind. Moreover, the lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy and the imperial mausoleum is right at the eye of the dragon. This is why the emperor chose this place.

Qin Shi Huang (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, began the construction of his tomb as early as the age of 13, when he ascended the throne. About 700,000 workers from every province of the empire toiled unceasingly until the death of the emperor in order to construct a subterranean city within a gigantic mound. The project lasted another two years after the death of Qin Shi Huang. Adding the first phase of construction, nearly 40 years were used in building the mausoleum.

According to the Records of the Historian, the tomb was very deep and solid and lined with stones. Inside the tomb, a vermilion stone wall blocked off groundwater, making it waterproof; treasures and jewels were kept there and candles of man-fish oil burned 24 hours a day; automatic hidden arrows protected the tomb from robbers and looters and a belt of quicksilver poured in a ditch around the tomb looked like a protective river.

It is estimated by archaeologists that the whole area of mausoleum is 56.25 square kilometer, which is 78 times of the Imperial Palace. However, only a part of it was unexcavated due to the technology limitation of preserving the collections in it.

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