The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located in the eastern suburbs of Lintong County, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Xian: on the Lishan Mountain in the south and overlooking the Wei River towards north. The lay of the land from Lishan to Mount Hua is shaped dragon-like according to traditional Chinese geomancy. The imperial tomb is at the eye of the dragon. The emperor had chosen well.
Qin Shi Huangdi (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry up on building his royal tomb. It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor,saw his entombment.
The Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses are world famous, attracting a large number of tourists from home and abroad to visit each year. However, they are only a part of the yet unexcavated mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang located to its west. Inside it, greater things are yet to come.
In size, the mausoleum is larger than the Great pyramid in Egypt. Seen from afar, it is a hill overgrown with vegetation. It is believed that the tomb consists of an interior city and an exterior city. Its exterior is a low earth pyramid with a wide base. In 2000 years, the original 100-meter-high (328 feet) hillock has been weathered down to about 47 meters (154 feet) high, 515 meters (1,690 feet) long from south to north and 485 meters (1,591 feet) wide east to west. In an area of 2,180,000 square meters (less than one square miles), many large-scale alhambresque buildings housing precious treasures are said to be buried inside the tomb.
The labourers came from three groups of people. The first were the craftsmen. The second were the prisoners. The third were the people working to repay a debt. These people had violated the rules at that time and had to pay a fine. But with no money to pay fines, they were forced to build the mausoleum. According to historical records, the mausoleum was a notorious crime scene. Many laborers died of hardship during its construction, and all the workmen were entombed along with the emperor in order to keep their mouths shut.