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Ming Tombs

Inscribed: 2000, 2003 Criteria: C (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)

The imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are four groups of tombs in four provinces of eastern China. The Ming Tombs, designed in keeping with the Chinese principles of geomancy (fengshui), provide outstanding evidence of Chinese beliefs and traditional from the 14th century onwards and are significant examples of architecture and applied arts from that period.



Located about 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing, the Ming Tombs lie scattered at the southern foot of MT.Tianshoushan in Changping district. The first and the largest one was built during the reign of the third Ming emperor Zhu Di (1403-1424).The other 12 tombs were built successively in a period of more than 200 years.

• Sacred Way
Construction of the Sacred Way started from 1435 and more buildings were added in 1540. The Stone Memorial Arch, Great Red Gate,Stele Pavilion of Divine Merits and Sacred Virtues, Stone Statues and Animals, Dragon and Phoenix Gate, Five-Arch Bridge and Seven-Arch Bridge line from the south to the north. Among them, Stele Pavilion of Divine Merits and Sacred Virtues, the Stone Statues and Animals and Dragon and Phoenix Gates are the core architectures of the Sacred Way. The stone carvings, gravely modeled, accords with the solemn atmosphere of commemoration of the tombs and achieve a very high artistic level.

• Changling Tomb
Changling Tomb, the tomb of Emperor Yongle, was built the earliest among the 13 Ming Mausoleums, is the largest and most magnificent as well as the best-preserved one which ranks the first among the thirteen Ming Mausoleums. Construction of Changling started in 1409, and it is the joint burial mausoleum of Emperor Yongle and his empress. With a history of about 600 years, it has been in good condition and remains resplendent. Because the project was massive and complex, huge amounts of manpower, material resources and financial resources were invested to construct Changling Tomb. It took as long as four years to construct the underground palace alone.
Ling'en Hall is the place where the heir emperors offered sacrifices to memorize Emperor Yongle. It is a double-eave structure with hip roof and the ground is paved with golden bricks. Sixty huge pillars and all wooden structural components are made of Jinsi Nanmu (a kind of rare and hard wood), which makes Ling'en Hall antique and unique.The bronze statue of Emperor Yongle, sitting in the throne carved with nine dragons, is extremely lifelike. Hundreds of pieces of rare jewelry unearthed from the Underground Palace of Dingling are on display.

• Dingling Tomb
Dingling is one of the 13 Ming Tombs and is the tomb of the 13th Ming Emperor. It is the only one of the Ming Tombs to have been excavated so far. Excavation started in 1956, 2 years later the museum of the Underground Palace was set up. The burial objects cleared out of the underground palace came to more than 3000.
The Underground Palace of Ding Ling consisted of the ante-chamber, the middle-chamber with 2 annexes chambers on each side, and the back-chamber. The Underground Palace was entirely built of stone., with vaulted ceilings and no columns or beams.
There are 3 coffins placed on the stone couch in the back-chamber. In the middle was the coffin of the emperor, flanked by the coffins of the two Empresses.
The burial objects are now placed in the Ding Ling Museum, except some of them are kept in the Palace Museum.

• Zhaoling Tomb
Located at the eastern foot of Dayu Mountains, Zhaoling is the joint tomb of Zhu Zaihou, the 12th Ming emperor (1537-1572) and his three empresses. In September, 1990, Zhaoling was opened to tourists as a scenic spot.
The Underground Palace of Zhaoling was built by Emperor Shizong for his parents on January 2, 1539.It was abandoned, however, as soon as it was completed. In 1572, it was ordered by the emperor to develop into an imperial mausoleum. Buildings were then added on the ground, and the mausoleum as a whole was completed in the following year. Occupying a land area of 34,600 square meters, the mausoleum basically followed the systems developed at the Tailing and Kangling in terms of architecture and layout.
At the turn of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, the buildings at the mausoleum suffered serious damages. In 1987, the Ming Tombs Special Zone Administration of Changping County restored all the buildings inside and outside the tomb on their original sites for the purpose of conservation of these cultural relics and promotion of tourism.


Admission Fee Changling: CNY 45 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); CNY 30 (Nov.1 to the next Mar. 31)
Dingling: CNY 60 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); CNY 40 (Nov.1 to the next Mar. 31)
Zhaoling: CNY 30 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); CNY 20 (Nov.1 to the next Mar. 31)
Sacred Way: CNY 30 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); CNY 20 (Nov.1 to the next Mar. 31)
Opening Hours Changling: 8:00 to 17:30;   Dingling: 8:00 to 18:00;
Zhaoling: 8:30 - 17:30;   Sacred Way: 8:00 - 18:00
Note: Ticket-selling stops about half an hour before the closing time. In low season (Nov. 1 - the next Mar. 31), the opening time is half an hour later and the ticket stopping time and closing time are half an hour ahead of the above schedule.
Bus 1. Special tourist Bus 872 (formerly 925) runs directly from Desheng Gate to Dingling and Changling every 30 minutes in peak hours from 07:10-19:10.
2. Take bus no. 919 branch line 1, 345 branch line or 881 at Desheng Gate West Station, get off at Changping Dongguan Crossing Station, and then take bus no. 314 to the Sacred Way (Nanxin Village Station), Dingling and Changling.
3. Take Changping Bus no. 22 to Changling, Dingling and Zhaoling at Li Shui Qiao Station; or take bus no. 345 branch line or 881 at Desheng Gate West Station, get off at Sha He Station, and then transfer to Changping Bus no. 22.
Subway Take subway line 5 to Tiantongyuan Bei Station, and shift to Changping Bus no. 22.


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