Ming Tombs (明十三陵)

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Of the 16 emperors ruling China during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), 13 are buried in a box canyon at the southern foot of Tianshou Shan (hence the Chinese name Shisan Ling, the 13 Tombs)

Information on this page last updated:2016-11-22 17:08:51

Admission: 25-65 RMB
Opening Hours: Peak Season: 8:00-17:30 (April 1 to October 31)
Off-season: 8:30-17:00 (November 1 to Next Year's March 31)
Phone: +86 10 60761148
Best Time to Visit: April to October
Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 Hours

Description

Of the 16 emperors who ruled China during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), 13 are buried in a box canyon at the southern foot of Tianshou Shan (hence the Chinese name Shisan Ling, the 13 Tombs). The first emperor of the Ming, Hongwu, is entombed in Xiao Ling, near Nanjing. The location of the second emperor's tomb is uncertain, while the unfilial seventh emperor, who usurped the throne after his brother was taken by the Mongols, was buried near the Summer Palace among the graves of concubines. Despite these omissions, this is the most extensive burial complex of any Chinese dynasty.

A red gate sealed off the valley, guards were posted, and no one, not even the emperor, could ride a horse on these grounds. The site was chosen by the Yongle emperor, who also oversaw the construction of the Forbidden City. Protected from the bitter northern winds by a mountain range, the tombs are constructed in a conventional fashion, with memorial halls at the front and burial chambers to the rear. The entrance to the Ming Tombs, a long and celebrated shen dao (spirit way) is lined with statues of guardian animals and officials. Only three of the Ming Tombs -- Ding Ling, Chang Ling, and Zhao Ling -- have been restored, and only one (Ding Ling) has been fully excavated. Many of the buildings mirror Ming palaces found in the city. Because of this, the sight can be boring to people who've had their fill of imperial architecture.

The Ming Tombs are at their most charming along the shen dao and on the grounds of unrestored tombs (free admission). In contrast, the restored tombs are dank, overcrowded, and uninspiring. The Ming Tombs are so unpopular with foreign tourists that they are often excluded from tour-group itineraries. At present, only the Sacred Way, Changling Tomb, Zhaoling Tomb and Dingling Tomb are open to the public.

Featured Attractions: Sacred Way The Sacred Way, also known as Changling Sacred Way, is the approach to the Changling Tomb. Along the Way from south to north, you will see a number of sites (or sights) of interest and beauty, including the Stone Tablet Archway, Great Red Gate, Tablet Pavilion, Ornamental Columns, Stone Figures, Lingxin Gate. Changling Tomb Walking along the Sacred Way to the end, you can see the Changling Tomb (built in 1409), where lies the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhu Di and his Empress Xu. It is the largest, original and the best preserved among the thirteen tombs, and has three courtyards in the front and a Treasure City in the round rear part. The magnificent Grace and Blessing Palace (Ling'en Palace) in the second courtyard is highly recommended. Dingling Tomb Built from 1584 to 1590, it is the mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun, the thirteenth emperor of the Ming Dynasty and his two empresses. The highlight of this tomb is the stone Underground Palace, which was discovered between 1956 and 1958, and had a great deal of precious relics unearthed. Zhaoling Tomb Located in eastern foot of Dayu Mountain, Zhaoling is where the 12th emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhu Zaihou and his three empresses were buried. It features the special Dumb Yard in a crescent shape housing the imperial coffins.

Map

Address: Foot of Tianshou Mountain, Changping District, Beijing

Transportation:

1. Special tourist Bus 872 (formerly 925) runs directly from Desheng Gate to Dingling and Changling every 30 minutes during 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. Take Subway Line 5 to Tiantongyuan Bei Station, and transfer to Changping Bus No. 22. 

 

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