The Terracotta Army collection was discovered in spring 1974 by a group of Chinese farmers that were digging a water well, just east of Xi'an. There are thousands of terra cotta warrior and horse sculptures which were buried along with the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The warriors were said to protect the emperor in his afterlife and were buried around 210 - 209 BC.
Much excavation work has been perfomed since 1974 and the site today is carefully laid out to give visitors a real insight into how the tombs would have looked originally. Thousands of the scupltures have been set out across the site on display to represent just some of the 8,000 soldiers, 520 horses and 130 chariots that have been found so far. The Mausoleum is now deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a popular stop on most tourist's itineraries when visiting China.
Much of the original site has still to be excavated and visitors are restricted to walking along raised lanes alongside the figures. This does not detract from their sheer size however, with the generals being the tallest figures. Xi'an is a real historians dream as there are various weapons also on display such as arrowheads, swords and shields. Those not so mad about history cannot fail to be wowwed by the sheer size and intricacy of the displays.