Ming Tombs & Sacred
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
Shichahai & Hutong