Ming Tombs (Ming Shi San Ling) [明十三陵]

| 0 Reviews | Apr- Oct: RMB 60; Nov - Mar: RMB 40 | Attractions
  • Address:At the foot of Tianshou Mountain, Changping District, Beijing
  • Contact: 010 6076 1424 6076 1388  
  • Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
  • Website: http://www.mingtombs.com.cn
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Ming Tombs are approximately 50km northwest of Beijing in Changping County. The Tombs are the dynastic burial grounds of 13 emperors from the Ming Dynasty, and a number of concubines and eunuchs. The burial complex spans 15 square km.

The third emperor, Yongle, chose Mount Yan as the site for the mausoleum. He selected the site based on fengshui principles, with Jundu Mountains deflecting bad spirits coming from the north. All of the emperors' tombs were constructed at the foot of a small hill with access to the main road, the Sacred Way, which is decorated with clouds, waves and divine animals. The archway is the best-preserved specimen of its kind and the largest ancient stone archway in China.

In ancient times, the mausoleums used to have a frontal court where memorial ceremonies and sacrifices were held. Changling (Chang Tomb) is the most impressive, Yongling (Yong Tomb) is known for its delicate décor and Siling (Si Tomb) is the smallest of all. Not all tombs are open to the public.

Changling, Chang Tomb, is the largest and oldest of the tombs located approximately 4km from the entrance. It was built in the 15th century and serves as the burial ground for Emperor Zhu Di and his empress. In total, Changling occupies 120,000sqm. Structures around the central axis include Front Gate to the Tomb, Gate of Eminent Favor, the Hall of Eminent Favor, the Dragon & Phoenix Gate, Soul Tower and Wall-circle Earth Mound. Hall of Eminent Favor, its interior brackets and columns made out of a single nanmu trunk piece, is the most striking architectural piece that graces the grounds. The hall serves as a museum that displays artifacts unearthed on the premises.

The Dingling (Ding Tomb) took 56 years to complete. 250 tons of silver and thousands of laborers were used in its construction. Emperor Zhu Yijun and his two empresses were buried together here. The excavations exhumed many artifacts, like a crown and various ornaments and utensils displayed in the adjacent Dingling Museum. When it was originally constructed, the tomb grounds had bridges, a stele pavilion, halls, towers and annexes on the ground. However, what remains is the stone Soul Tower. Behind the tower is the underground palace, 27 meters in depth. The underground palace can be entered via a tunnel and occupies a 1,195sqm area. The palace is comprised of five joint halls made out of marble, which houses thrones, coffins, burial chest and other artifacts.

Zhaoling (Zhao Tomb) is located southwest of Dingling. It was constructed in 1538 and serves as Zhu Zhaihou's (the 12th emperor of the Ming Dynasty) mausoleum. The mausoleum is known for its distinct architectural design since it lies above ground. It consists of four bridges, a stele pavilion and halls. It is the only tomb complex that has been rebuilt to original architectural designed.

In 2003, the Ming Tombs was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Apr 1-Oct 31

Nov 1-Mar31

Sacred Way




















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