In 1974 some farmers were digging a water well near Xi'an, China. They accidentally made one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the twentieth century, the terracotta army of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇). Construction of the necropolis began shortly after Qin Shi Huang rose to power at age 13 in 246 BC. By the time of his death in 210 BC, the three pits containing the Terracotta Army contained 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 510 horses and 150 cavalry horses. This army was built to accompany the emperor in the afterlife. There's a ton more info about the army here and here and here.
I spent most of a day visiting the Terracotta Army. For me, the site lived up to the hype. The most impressive part was the minute level of detail. Every soldier had a unique face. Each strand of hair was individually carved. There was even tread on the bottoms of their shoes. Besides the opportunity to look at the soldiers themselves, there was a lot of information about the history of the army and its discovery. In fact, the Terracotta Army was one of my favorite sites in all of China.
Here are some of my pictures:
Here are the rest of my Terracotta Warriors photos.