What are Shi Huangdi's greatest achievements

Archeology in china

Chance reveals a miracle

This makes China an exciting research area not only for historians, but also a true paradise for archaeologists. Over the years, they unearthed treasures from bygone times.

When simple Chinese farm workers built a well in the Shaanxi province in the heart of China in 1974, they made a sensational archaeological find: Only a few groundbreaking cuts they came across the famous tombs of the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 BC). Archaeologists arrived immediately to relieve the farmers in their arduous excavation work.

The work has paid off, because the scientists discovered a real archaeological treasure: the famous red-brown terracotta soldiers, the guards of the imperial burial chamber. The find is already considered a milestone in archeology.

Today we know that the area of ​​the grave landscape near Xi'an is almost six times the size of the entire Ruhr area. The excavations will take decades to complete. Xi'an was the first capital of the Chinese Empire and is now the capital of Shaanxi Province.

An underground world

The army is only a tiny fraction of what is still waiting for the researchers underground: a completely recreated court that extends over a length of 180 kilometers. Qin Shihuangdi had ministers, carriages, acrobats, landscapes with animals and much more laid in his grave.

A total of 70,000 corporal workers were busy building this underground world for 40 years - the archaeologists are now trying to fathom it. The scientists agree that Qin Shihuangdi did not simply take figures and treasures with him to the afterlife at random, but that they all have a meaning.

With around 8,000 terracotta warriors, for example, he wanted to underline his claim to military power for eternity. After all, it had been his life's work to unite the existing kingdoms into a single Chinese empire in lengthy campaigns.

But not only fame and honor should be reflected in his grave landscape. A spectacular archaeological find from 2000 proves that the ruler was also receptive to the beautiful things on earth.

Scientists came across traces of an imitated natural landscape in the tombs of the Chinese emperor. Below the earth, workers had dug an entire river and equipped it with life-size bronze imitations of birds.

The emperor's artists had succeeded in modeling geese, swans and cranes down to the point of their feathers. One of the animals still holds a small fish in its beak as if it had just caught it.

Even the waves of the water were supposed to accompany the emperor into the afterlife - at least the archaeologists found water waves formed from clay in the subterranean river landscape. A team of archaeologists has now brought the precious bronze birds to light.

An army is brought to life

A German-Chinese project group has been restoring the 1.80 meter tall terracotta soldiers since 1990. Most people know the army in the red-brown color typical of terracotta. In fact, these clay people were originally colorfully decorated.

Each figure is unique, its painting always differed from the others. The warriors' clothes shimmered in different colors - not two of them wore the same shirt.

The variety of painted clothes corresponded to the reality at the time, because the Qin army did not have a uniform uniform. Instead, each soldier tailored his own clothing according to his personal color preferences.

Vases as replacement soldiers

After ten years of research, the Munich-based Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation has succeeded in developing a process that preserves the color in the restoration process.

So far, the layer of paint on the clay warriors has always crumbled as soon as they were brought to light. Accustomed to the high humidity in the burial chamber, rescue meant for them the loss of their colorful form. The scientists wanted to prevent that.

Therefore, they tried different methods of preservation in complicated procedures. The valuable clay people were not used as test objects, but terracotta flower vases. A two-phase treatment finally led the specialists to success.

With the help of a chemical consolidation agent, the layer of varnish with which every warrior is coated is first consolidated. An adhesive then ensures that the paint is firmly back on the terracotta bodies. So the soldiers can finally leave their damp tomb unscathed and go on a world tour through the museums.

The largest structure in the world

Whether you can see them with the naked eye from space or not is controversial. But the fact is that the Great Wall of China is the largest structure in the world. It stretches for more than 8,850 kilometers, is up to 16 meters high and a total of over a billion square meters of stones and earthworks were built in.

This wall, unique in the world, was also built at the time of the first emperor Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 BC). The unifier had the brilliant idea of ​​connecting the protective walls of the formerly independent kingdoms with one another. From now on the Chinese Empire should be protected especially against the nomads from the north.

Protection alone was soon no longer the only task of the proud structure. Shrewd officials in the Han period (206 BC to 220 AD) came up with the idea of ​​using the wall to spread news.

Since the wall had watchtowers every few hundred meters, it was easy to convey messages. From one guard post to the next, the important information moved at a rapid pace via fire alarm and smoke alarm.

The watchtowers still shape the typical image of the Great Wall of China today - just like the brick and stone outer walls with battlements. The building received its final shape during the Ming Dynasty between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Such an old monument has to be preserved, and so the Chinese government had numerous parts restored. The section of the wall near Badaling received its old splendor in 1957 and is still a popular excursion point for domestic and foreign guests to this day.

According to the latest estimates, the Great Wall of China could originally have been more than 21,000 cliometers long.