Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 14:51 UK

Army of fans visit British Museum

Terracotta soldier on display in the British Museum
Demand was so great the museum extended its opening hours

A record number of people visited the British Museum in London last year to see China's famous Terracotta Army exhibition on display.

More than 850,000 people viewed the attraction, giving the museum its highest attendance figures since the Tutankhamun display of 1972.

The collection boosted overall visitor figures from 2007-08 to six million.

Visiting numbers for Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the National History Museum did not exceed that.


Demand was so great to see the 2,000-year-old iconic figures that museum opening hours had to be extended.

The warriors, built to protect the First Emperor Qin Shihuang in the afterlife, were rediscovered in 1974 after being chanced upon by villagers.

Advance ticket sales for the museum's newest exhibition - based on Roman emperor Hadrian - have exceeded 10,000.

It goes on display from 24 July to 26 October.

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