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Home >> China City Guide >> Beijing >> Ming Tombs - Beijing travel information and trip

Ming Tombs & Sacred Way

Ming Tombs, Beijing
Ming Tombs
Beijing Ming Tombs
Ming Tombs, Beijing China

The Ming Tombs lie in a broad valley to the south of Tianshou (Longevity of Heaven) Mountain in Changping County, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest from the urban area of Beijing. It is actually a tomb cluster of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), including thirteen emperor's mausoleums, seven tombs for concubines and one grave for eunuchs. This cemetery is famous because thirteen emperors were buried here. Covering an area of more than 120 square kilometers and sitting at the foot of Mt. Yan, it appears extremely spectacular. It was listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003.

At the foot of a separate small hill lies each emperor's tomb, and these tombs all share a main road called the Scared Way. These mausoleums were constructed in style and overall arranged similarly, only differing in size and complexity of their structures. They used to have a forecourt to hold memorial ceremonies and sacrifices and at the back a tomb. Among them, the most grand is the Changling (Chang Tomb), the most delicate, Yongling (Yong Tomb) and the smallest is the Siling (Si Tomb). Nowadays, the Sacred Way, Changling (Chang Tomb), Dingling (Ding Tomb) and Zhaoling (Zhao Tomb) are accessible to the public.

The Sacred Way with seven kilometers (4.3 miles) long leads to the largest and oldest Changling (Chang Tomb) of all the tombs directly. The construction of this mausoleum began in 1409 and finished in 1413. The third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Di and his empress were buried in this mausoleum. In the forecourt, there are three courtyards and all the halls are covered with yellow glaze tiles on their roofs. After the Hall of Supreme Harmony of the Forbidden City, there is the second yard, one of the largest wooden buildings in China. This yard is supported by sixty unpainted poles made of nanmu. This hall displays those unearthed objects. Behind it, there is a tower called Ming Lou (Bright Tower), the symbol of Chang Tomb.

Till now, Dingling (Ding Tomb) is the only one excavated in this graveyard. The thirteen emperor of the Ming D dynasty, Zhu Yijun and his two empresses were buried in this mausoleum. This mausoleum was constructed between 1584 and 1590. It used to have bridges, a stele pavilion, halls and towers and annexes on the ground. Hundreds of years later, only a stone tower, Bright Tower, survives following several fires. There is an underground palace with 27 meters (88.6 feet) in depth behind the tower. Visitors may enter via a tunnel. The stone palace with five halls covers an area of 1,195 square meters (0.3 acre). Gates of the main halls are made of white marble, with fine thrones in the central hall, coffins and burial chests at the rear hall. From this mausoleum excavated some precious articles like crowns, ornaments, and utensils.

Zhaoling (Zhao Tomb) was built in 1538. It lies to the southwest of Ding Tomb. Buries here were Zhu Zaihou, the twelfth emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his three empresses. It is the best representation of a tomb complex because of its fully restored complete surface structures, consisting of four bridges, a stele pavilion and halls.

Beijing Travel Attractions
Badaling Great Wall
Forbidden City
Tian'anmen Square
Summer Palace
Temple of Heaven
Ming Tombs
Mutianyu Great wall
Beijing Hutong
Beijing Roasted Duck
Yonghegong Temple
Beihai Park
Beijing Zoo
Beijing Opera
Confucian Temple
Jinshanling Greatwall
Simatai Great Wall
Fragrant Hills
Shichahai & Hutong
Tanzhe Temple
White Cloud Temple
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