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Ming Tombs



ming tombsLocated at the foot of Tianshou Mountain in Changping District, about 50 kilometers northwest of the city
area of Beijing, Ming Tombs is actually a range of imperial mausoleum constructions of thirteen
emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Thirteen out of the 16 Ming emperors as well as 23
empresses, 1 highest-ranking concubine and a dozen immolated imperial concubines were buried in
this peaceful valley.

Surrounded by lofty mountain ranges, the whole scenic area covers an area of 120 square kilometers
and is reputed to be the best preserved tomb architecture of its kind in China. Because of its long history
, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value.

The area chosen as an auspicious site for the imperial burial grounds was not only beautiful of scenery, under the guidance of traditional Chinese
Fengshui, the whole process site selection to designing of the tombs paid attention to harmony between tomb architecture and the surrounding
mountains, rivers and vegetation to embody the philosophical view that man is an integral part of nature.

ming tombsThe layout of each mausoleum is different, but the thirteen tombs still have nearly the same general
arrangements. Though varying in size and architectural complexity, these tombs are similar in general
layout: the plan takes an oblong shape with a round (or oval) Precious Hall (Baocheng) at the rear. Each
tomb complex starts with a stone bridge, followed by a front gate, a stele pavilion, the Gate of Eminent
Favor, the Hall of Eminent Favor, a watchtower and then the Precious Hall. The layout of these Ming
Tombs produced a far-reaching impact on the construction of the Dong Tombs and Xi Tombs of the Qing
Dynasty.

Among the 13 tombs, Changling, the tomb of Emperor Zhu Di was built first, and it is also the largest and
the best preserved tomb with a history of more than 500 years.

Dingling, the tomb of Emperor Wanli (reigned 1537-1619), was under archaeological excavation in 1956, all other tomb architecture has remained
intact.

Overall, 13 Ming Tombs has undergone 600 years that spans across three historical periods: the Qing Dynasty, the Republic of China and the
People’s Republic of China. Although most of the structures, especially those on the ground suffered natural and human destruction, the entire
layout and the underground palaces are perfectly preserved. Besides, the natural environment around the tombs is still gorgeous as before.

 
 


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