Located at the foot of the Tianshou Mountain in Changping District,Beijing, the Ming Mausoleums, occupying an area of 120 square kilometers, are well preserved and have the biggest number of emperors buried in the world.
Built in the seventh year of the Ming Emperor Yongle's reign (1409), Changling Tomb of Emperor Chengzu (Zhudi) is the first one among the Ming Mausoleums. It is located in front of the main peak of the Tianshou Mountain, while the other eleven mausoleums built in the Ming Dynasty, including Xianling, Jingling, Yuling, Maoling, Tailing,Yongling, Kanling, Zhaoling, Qingling, Dingling and Deling are founded at the two sides of the Changling Tomb. Lying at the southwestern corner of the mausoleum area, Siling Tomb of Emperor Chongzhen (Zhu Youjian) is the last-built one among the mausoleums, which was transformed from an imperial concubine's tomb. Siling Tomb was denominated in the first year of Emperor Shunzhi' reign (1644) in the Qing Dynasty(1666-1911) and the above-ground buildings were added then. Other affiliated buildings are: seven tombs of the imperial concubine, one eunuch tomb, an Imperial Garden and Traveling Palace in the Ming Dynasty. There used to be ten Pass Towns around the Ming Tombs.
Because part of the buildings within the mausoleum area were destroyed in war in the transition period of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, and such situation went on with more other buildings later, the Qing government renovated the main buildings on a larger scale in 1785-1787. Peking government of the Republic of China (1912-1949)also repaired the Great Wall nearby in 1935. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, greater measures have been taken to intensify the repair working on seven tombs of Changling, Xianling, Jingling, Yongling, Dingling, Zhaoling and Siling and the Sacred Way. The underground palace of Dingling Tomb was excavated successfully in 1956-1957.
In 1961, the Ming Tombs were proclaimed as the important cultural relics under state protection. At present, three mausoleums, Changling, Dingling and Zhaoling, and the Sacred Way are open to the public as scenic spots.