Tomb of the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang – World Cultural Heritage in China

Project: Tomb of the First Chinese Emperor – Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
Location: Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China (N34 22 60 E109 5 60)
Scale: Heritage area 244ha; 3425ha protected area
Year of establishment: 246 – 208 BC Value: World Heritage (1987; categories i, iii, iv, vi)

Outstanding global value

Located at the northern foot of Lishan Mountain, 35 kilometers northeast of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the first unified empire in Chinese history. Kingdom in the 3rd century BC. Beginning in 246 BC, the mound still exists at an altitude of 51.3 meters in a rectangular walled enclosure in a north-south direction. The nearly 200 accompanying pits contain thousands of life-sized terracotta soldiers, terracotta horses, chariots and bronze weapons – a world-famous discovery – along with burial mounds and ant ruins The structure has a total of more than 600 sites in an area of ​​56.25 square kilometers. According to historian Sima Qian (circa 145-95 BC),


As the mausoleum of the first emperor to unify the country, it is the largest mausoleum in Chinese history, with a unique standard and layout, and a large number of exquisite funeral items. It exemplifies the establishment of the first unified empire – the Qin Dynasty, in the 3rd century BC, wielded unprecedented political, military and economic power, while raising the society, culture and art of the empire.

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Criterion (i): Because of their exceptional artistic and technical qualities, terracotta warriors and horses, and bronze hearses were major works in the history of Chinese sculpture before the Han Dynasty.

Criterion (iii): The army represents unique evidence of military organization in China during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) and of the short-lived Millennium Empire (221-210 BC) ). Direct evidence of objects found on the spot (spears, swords, axes, halberds, bows, etc.) is evident. The documentary value of a group of surrealist sculptures where no detail is overlooked – from the warriors’ uniforms, their arms, even the horse harness – is immense. Furthermore, the information gathered from the statues regarding the crafts and techniques of potters and bronzers is innumerable.

Criterion (iv): Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is the largest preserved site in China. It is a unique architectural complex whose layout reflects the urban planning of the capital Xianyang, with royal palaces surrounded by city walls, which themselves are surrounded by walls. other. This capital of Qin (which succeeded the present site of Xi’an, the capital of the Han, Sui and Tang dynasties) was a microcosm of Zhongguo (China) that Qin Shi Huang wanted to unify the two. (he imposed upon the earth a unique system of writing, money, weight, and measure) and for protection from barbarians who could come from any direction (the army guarding the emperor had hidden away from the tomb).

Criterion (vi): Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is associated with an event of global significance: the first unification of the Chinese territory by a centralized state created by an autocratic king in 221 BC.

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Tomb of Qin Shi Huang has high integrity; tomb mounds, mausoleum works, burial pits, ceremonial construction sites and the overall context in the heritage area and buffer zone are preserved quite well, fully reflecting the structure and ritual system of the entire site. mausoleum.


The mounds, construction sites, mausoleums and burial pits in the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang all faithfully maintain their original location, materials, formation,engineering and structure, a true reflection. strict regulation of the Tomb and palace life as well as the military system of the Qin Dynasty. The numerous cultural relics unearthed reflect the highest technical level of pottery, chariot assembly, metallurgy and metalworking of the Qin Dynasty.

Protection and management requirements

The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang has been listed as a Priority Site for State Protection and is therefore under the protection of the Law on Protection of Cultural Relics of the People’s Republic of China. In July 2005, the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Congress passed the Regulation on Protection of the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang of Shaanxi Province and established a protection body: the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang. In 2009, the Qin Shi Huang Horse and Terracotta Warrior Museum was upgraded by the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau into the Qin Shi Huang Tomb Museum, responsible for overall planning, management, and archaeological excavations. , scientific research and daily maintenance.

In response to the pressure of urban development and tourism, the Shaanxi provincial government approved the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum Conservation Plan in July 2010, which clarifies the boundaries of the protected area and the area. control construction around the mausoleum and prohibit development of the Dong mausoleum. district invaded the mausoleum. This measure effectively protected the mausoleum and its settings, preventing vandalism and ensuring the authenticity and integrity of the appropriate monuments.

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Video of the Tomb of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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