Mausoleum of the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Terracotta Warriors

and Huaqing Hot Springs Resort

Today, the 2,000-year-old underground palace still remains a mystery for the world; despite curiosity about it across the world, most experts say "no" when asked about whether an excavation is feasible in the near future. The core region of the mausoleum, about 2.13 sq km wide, is well protected from any excavation, according to Chinese experts and officials. "The current techniques mastered by the modern people cannot ensure the mausoleum can be protected well after excavation," said Duan Qingbo, head of the Qinshihuang Mausoleum Excavation Team under Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China has consistently opposed any unnecessary excavation at the cultural heritage sites, especially at the large-scale emperor mausoleums like the Qinshihuang Mausoleum, unless some unexpected things occur like natural disasters, tomb robberies and vital infrastructure construction. "All the objects in the tomb have been underground for thousands of years. They are used to the balance of the warmth and humidity underground and if we expose the relics to sunshine, oxygen or other gases, the balance will no longer exist and the relics will easily be ruined," said Zhang Bai, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. Using magnetic prospection, the finding might prove that the historical record that the mausoleum was filled with treasures are true.The historical record say the first emperor spent about 38 years building his afterlife palace and enslaved about 720,000 laborers. He filled his mausoleum with mercury in the form of a lake and river layout in his country, and decorated the inside top of the mausoleum with the layout of the sun, the moon and other stars. The latest prospection also found the round earthen man-made hill, about 50 m high and 350 m in diameter, contains symmetrical ladders and wooden construction. The coffin chamber is about 30 deep and tapers from 160 in length and 149 meters in width to 80 meters in length and 50 meters in width at the bottom. The emperor moved into his underground palace at age 49 after ruling for 15 years and building the underground palace for about 38 years. "He was lonely. He had been ambitious enough to unite China for the first time and arrange the country with a political system managed by the selected talents instead of his imperial blood kin," Duan said. "Though, it's well-known that he is described as ruthless and greedy." (Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2005)

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County, Shaanxi province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China. Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had work begun on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants Chariot No. 1 exhibited in the Multi-Exhibition Hall in the Terra Cotta Army Museumuncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211 --206 BC).

The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit. Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary.Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994.Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses. Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.

Situated at the northern foot of Mt. Lishan in Lintong County, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Xian City, Huaqing Hot Spring is famed for both its dainty spring scenery and the romantic love story of Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) and his concubine Yang Guifei in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Its long history and location among the wonderful landscapes of Xian should entice any visitor to visit and bathe in this hot spring.

It is said that King You built a palace here during the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-711 BC). Additions were subsequently made by the First Emperor Qing (259 BC-210BC) and Emperor Wu during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24). During his reign, the Emperor Xuanzong spent dizzying amounts of his funds to build a luxurious palace, changing its name to Huaqing Hot Spring or Huaqing Palace. Over the course of 41 years in his days, he visited the palace as many as 36 times. The palace thus has a history of 3,000 years and the hot spring a history of 6,000 years!

Entering the gate which bears the inscription 'Huaqing Chi' (Huaqing Hot Spring) by Guo Moruo, a noted literary in China, visitors are greeted by two towering cedars. They will see lotus floating on the water and emitting sweet fragrance, and a white marble statue of Yang Guifei - recognised as one of the four most beautiful women in ancient China - stands tall by the lake like a shy and appealing fairy. The magnificent Frost Flying Hall used to be the bedroom of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei, with red supporting pillars and fine-patterned carving depicting the scene of the feast in which Emperor Xuanzong summoned Yang Guifei.

The first pleasure to experience is to have a bath in the imitational Guifei Pool. With an even temperature of 43 degree (109 F), the ever-flowing water of the hot spring contains minerals and organic materials that have therapeutic effects on the skin. Water originating from four spring reaches a discharge level of 112 tons per hour. In the bath pool, you can experience the same comfort as did the Emperor Xuanzong or Yang Guifei, and enjoy dance performances imitating the Tang style and a Chinese tea ceremony in the teahouse.