At a distance of 50km northwest of Beijing stands an arc-shaped cluster of hills fronted by a small plain. Here is where 13 emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) were buried, and the area is known as the Ming Tombs. Construction of the tombs started in 1409 and ended with the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. In over 200 years tombs were built over an area of 40 square kilometers, which is surrounded by walls totaling 40 kilometers. Each tomb is located at the foot of a separate hill and is linked with the other tombs by a road called the Sacred Way.
Let's see some representative attractions. Changling is the tomb of emperor Yongle (reigned 1403-1424), the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty whose personal name was Zhu Di, and of his empress. Built in 1413, the mausoleum extends over an area of 100,000 square meters. The soul tower, which tells people whose tomb it is, rests on a circular wall called the "city of treasures" which surrounds the burial mound. The "city of treasures" at Changling has a length of more than a kilometer. The underground palace at Dingling Tomb consists of an antechamber, a central chamber and a rear chamber plus the left and right annexes. One of the pictures shows the central chamber where the sacrificial utensils are on display. Two marble doors are made of single slabs and carved with life-size human figures, flowers and birds. More than 3,000 articles have been unearthed from the tumulus, the most precious being the golden crowns of the emperor and his queen.
The Ming Tombs are characterized by its large size, complete system, and intact preservation. As the representative of ancient Chinese imperial mausoleums, they reflect the richness of traditional Chinese culture, with very high historic and cultural value. You might as well experience by your own.