The impressive Ming Dynasty Tombs are located at the foot of Tianshou Mountain in Changping County, about 50 kilometers away from the capital of Beijing. Covering an area of over 124 square kilometers, the Ming Tombs are the resting place of the thirteen emperors of Ming Dynasty (1368 CE-1644 CE) were buried. The site of the Ming Tombs was chosen by the Yongle Emperor (or Zhu Di, 1360 CE – 1424 CE), the third emperor of Ming Dynasty who moved his capital to Beijing and began to build the imperial mausoleum in 1409.
The Ming Tombs are in a small basin which is surrounded by hills on three sides. The site of the Ming Tombs was purposely chosen according to principles of Fengshui, or geomancy based on the supposed invisible forces which connect the universe and humanity known as qi. According to Fengshui, evil winds coming down from the North must be deflected, thus an arc-shaped area was chosen, which is at the foot of the Jundu Mountains north of Beijing.
Every emperor’s tomb was constructed at the foot of a hill and every two tombs are at least 500 meters apart. Except Siling Mausoleum locating in the northwest, the other twelve tombs were constructed at the right or left of Siling Mausoleum. Designers of the Ming Tombs attached importance to the harmony and unity of nature and human being as Fengshui dictates.
These thirteen tombs share one way called Sacred Way. The Sacred Way is composed of a Stone Arch, Big Red Door, Beilou, and other sights. Entering into the area, visitors can see Stone Arch constructed with white marble in 1540. The Stone Arch was carved with delicate images of a dragon, lion, and cloud. Big Red Door is situated to the south of the area of the Ming Tombs. There once were two stelae containing instructions such as “officials must get off the horse and walk into.” The road behind the Big Red Door leads to the Changling Mausoleum which is a joint tomb of the Yongle Emperor and Empress Xu Yihua. The Changling Mausoleum is the oldest and best-preserved tomb in the complex.
The Dingling Mausoleum, tomb of the Wanli Emperor (1563 CE – 1620 CE), is the only tomb which has been unearthed. Built between 1584 to 1590 and occupying nearly 50 acres (180 thousand square meters), the Dingling Mausoleum has a rounded front while square at the back of the mausoleum. The shape of Dingling Mausoleum symbolizes the Chinese ancient philosophical premise that the Earth was square and Heaven was round.
The Ming Tombs was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage Site in August 2003.
Admission Fee: 45RMB (low season), 65RMB (high season)
Open Time: 8:30 -17:00 (low season), 8:00-17:30 (high season)
Admission Fee: 30RMB (low season), 45RMB (high season)
Open Time: 8:30-16:30 (low season), 8:00-17:00 (high season)
Admission Fee: 20RMB (low season), 30RMB (high season)
Open Time: 8:30-16:30 (low season), 8:30-17:00 (high season)
Note: Low season is from November 1st to March 31st of the following year. High season is from April 1st to October 31st.