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Museum of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses

Brief Introduction

The Terracotta Army - one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in 20th century, was found by local farmers in 1974 while  digging a well in the farmland  of the Lintong District of Xi’an city, which is about 40 kms to the east! Later the museum was built right on the site to shelter  the army. It was listed as a world heritage by UNESCO in 1987. In March 1974, a few farmers from Xiyang Village, a village nearby today’s museum site, were digging a well on the farm. They came across fragments of the terracotta warriors. Further excavation of these three pits revealed approximately 8,000  terracotta warriors and horses, a big army  made for protecting the First Qin Emperor’s secret underground kingdom. The Emperor’s army was found in three underground vaults which later were called Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3 respectively according to the order of discovery.




The museum building of Pit 1 was opened to the public in 1979. Since then the museum has become well known all of the world. The exhibition hall of Pit 3 was built in 1987 and

opened to the public two years later. Pit 2 was opened to the public in October 1994. These three main buildings were all constructed on their original sites!

Today’s museum is a building complex which covers a total area of 22,780 square meters. Among all of these three pits, Pit 1 covers an area of 14,000 square meters. It’s not only the biggest but also the most impressive one in which visitors can see a lot more restored Terracotta Warriors and can see how amazing the arrangement of the formation of the  army is. It is estimated that  more than 6,000 terracotta figures could still be unearthed according to the density of army that has so far been excavated in this pit. It contains warriors without armor, horses with charioteers, a big group of infantrymen with heavy armor and a  row of flanks facing outward on each of the three sides of the pit. It represents the standard combat  formation on the ground.



Pit 2 is an “L” shaped pit  of 6,000 square meters. It contains four military forces in four  formations  with roughly around 1,000 Terracotta figures. It’s  representative  of a mechanized formation in the battlefield. It has more chariots and charioteers, cavalryman with their saddled horses, infantryman and a big group of archers in front.



Pit 3 is a “U” shaped pit with two wing rooms and 68 Terracotta Warriors in them. It’s an underground command center with these 68 figures as the guard of honor. Excavating them has been a massive undertaking. Today, more than  one  thousand, five hundred warriors have been reassembled. The multiple exhibition halls of the museum lie to the east of Pit 2, with  a series of exhibits including  two sets of bronze chariots and horses, the new findings from the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum, the history of the museum and all kinds of temporary exhibits.These displays systematically depict the history of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and can help the viewers to have a better understanding of the terracotta warriors and horses.


Travel tips for people who are going to visit the Terracotta Warriors Museum:

Tip # 1: Going there by bus is highly recommended.

For a budget trip to the Terracotta Warriors Museum, taking the public bus is a good choice.

You have three choices:

Choice One:

It is easy to find the special Tourism Bus No. 306 running from the Xi’an Railway Station to the the Terracotta Warriors  Museum. These blue and white tourist buses can easily be seen on the east square of the railway station. If you stand facing Xi’an Railway Station, these Buses No. 5 (or No. 306) park at the parking lot on your right or east side. You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the shuttle bus.

Bus Line: Tourist Bus No. 5 (306)

First Bus: 07:00 ;     Last Bus 19:00

Line Length: 42 Km

Drive Time: 1.5 Hours

Bus Stops: Altogether  12 stops en route

Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station

Bus Stop No 08: Huaqing Hot Spring Palace

Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta  Warriors Museum

Be sure to get off at the last destination – the Terracotta Warriors  Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot Spring Palace and the First Qin Emperor’s Mausoleum. You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors  Museum. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off at the bus terminal. After visiting the museum, return  to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No. 5 (306) to go back to Xi’an.


Choice Two:

You can also have a van or shuttle mini-bus booked from Xi’an city center to the Terracotta Army Museum. This shared transfer is more convenient and goes directly to the famous Terracotta Warriors  Museum! The price for this round trip is 80 RMB per person and will save half hour to 1 hour for you. The van or shuttle mini-bus will start from some centrally located points and will be scheduled on time. Passengers who have booked this transfer beforehand should go there before the scheduled time, and they will share the van or mini-bus with others that have made a booking. There are no  other stops between the meeting points in the city and the Terracotta Warriors Museum. All vans and mini-buses will also follow the scheduled time to return to Xi’an city, and will wait for you at the very place where they dropped you off.


Choice Three:

If you arrive at the Xian North Railway Station in Xi’an, you can take the free shuttle bus from Xi’an North Railway Station to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum provided that you have a high-speed train ticket with an arrival date on the same day and you have bought the ticket for the Terracotta Warriors Museum. To get the free shuttle bus pass, you need to go to the information center in Xian North Railway Station to buy your entry ticket for the Terracotta Warriors  Museum. The Information Center is located south of the entrance to Subway Line 2 on the B1 Exit of the Xi’an North Railway Station. You use your arrival train ticket and the admission ticket for the Terracotta Warriors  Museum in exchange for the free shuttle bus pass going to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum. The free shuttle pass is valid for three days. That means if you arrive at Xi’an North Railway Station later in the evening, you can use the free shuttle pass for the next day, but you need go back to the same railway station to take the shuttle. As for where to catch  the free shuttle bus, please turn to the information center for the details. There are luggage deposit offices in the station. Please go to Information Center for more detailed information.


The shuttle buses leave hourly:

1. Shuttle Buses from the Xi’an North Railway Station to the Terracotta Warriors Museum :

First Bus at 8:00  and last bus at 16:00.

2. Shuttle Buses from the Terracotta Warriors Museum back to Xi’an North Railway Station:

First Bus at 10:00  and last bus at 19:00 .

3. Stops, travel time and operating time:

There are four stops (from the station to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum) :

1) Lintong National Tourism Resort 临潼国家旅游休闲度假区

2) Lishan Mountain 骊山

3) Huaqing Hot Spring Palace 华清池

4) Terracotta Warriors  Museum 兵马俑

The shuttle buses take about 90 minutes  for a single trip.

4.  The free shuttle pass is valid for three days.

Chinese: 西安北站乘坐免费大巴前往兵马俑

English: Free Shuttle Bus from Xian North Railway Station to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum.


Tip 2: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide or use a guidebook?

How to visit the museum? You have three choices:

1) Rent an audio guide (recorded guide). You have to pay 40 RMB for an audio tour. The audio voice  has an American accent and it is easy to understand but less informative.

2) Using a tour guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before coming  to Xi’an hiring a local tour guide at  a reasonable price will be a good idea. You will gain  much more knowledge than from a

guidebook or the recordings.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip 3: Walking from the Ticketing office to the Entrance Gate

You must keep your ticket because the museum has two entrances and your tickets will be checked twice at these two entrances. It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticket office at  the main entrance to the second entrance gate. If you pay 5 RMB, you can take a golf cart for a one minute ride from the first entrance to the second.

Free luggage storage service: On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers a free luggage storage service.


Tip 4: Exit from the museum

When  visiting the museum, you can only enter in  one way and exit another way. There is only one exit about 300 ms straight to the east of the second entrance of the museum, with a long market full of shops and restaurants. After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, you need walk through the market all the way down to the end, you will find the car park there.


Tip 5: Toilets in the museum are free Toilets in or around the museum are always free and most of them are pretty clean, but most are squat toilets. There are some toilets with toilet paper, but its recommended that you

bring  your own toilet paper just in case.


Tip 6: Take a taxi to the Museum

It costs  about 160 RMB for a  taxi from  downtown Xi’an to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum, and  double that for a return trip.


Tip 7: Terracotta Warriors  Museum, not the First Qin Emperor’s Mausoleum

If you take Bus 5 (306) from the Xi’an Railway Station to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum, don’t get off at the Qin Emperor’s Mausoleum. The First Qin Emperor’s Mausoleum is not an ideal choice to visit since it has not yet been excavated  and you can always see it from the bus on the way to the Terracotta Warriors  Museum.

The Terracotta Warriors  Museum and the First Qin Emperor’s Mausoleum are two different places and around 1.5 kms apart . The entrance for the First Qin Emoperor’s Mausoleum is also included in the ticket for the Terracotta Warriors Museum.


Related Itineraries: Half Day Terracotta Army Tour with Mini-warrior Making Experience

Customized Day Tour to Terracotta Army and Other Sights

Half Day Terracotta Army Tour with Local Cave House Visiting

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