Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Tomb

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Located at the foot of the Li Shan (Mount Li) lies the tomb of China's first Emperor—Qin Shi Huang—whom the Terracotta Warriors were built to protect in the afterlife.

Derived in part from the history of Qin written by the Han historian Sima Qian, legend has it that the tomb was originally decorated with vast amounts of gold, silver and pearls, and that ornate maps of the empire were carved into the floors complete with rivers of flowing mercury. The history is clouded by the apparent fact that all the artisans who built the tomb were buried alive upon its completion; however, recent digs have found walls and watchtowers of a large underground complex that corresponds roughly to the apocryphal record, and spot test on local soil have turned up unusually high levels of mercury. Given the extravagance of the Terracotta Warriors, only discovered in 1974, it's not hard to believe that more wonders from Qin's reign and obsession with his own death and imagined afterlife await.

Today, however, there's not a whole lot to see, aside from the burial mound.

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