And Sacred Way
The Ming Tombs - Shi San Ling or literally the
13 Tombs - are located at the foot of the Tianshou Mountains - 50km
North West of the city of Beijing, covering an area of 40 square
kilometres, which is surrounded by walls totalling 40 kilometres.
Construction of the tombs started in 1409 and ended with the fall
of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. The first emperor to be buried here
was Yongle - the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty - who died in
1424. His tomb, Chang Ling, is the biggest and served as the model
for the other tombs that followed. Emperor Yongle's Tomb is now
one of the three Ming tombs which are open to visitors.
The Dingling, Emperor Wanli's Tomb, is the only
one out of the 13 Ming Tombs excavated so far. More than 3,000 relics
have been unearthed.
One of the more impressive sights at the Ming
Tombs is the Sacred Way. Built for the purpose of linking these
tombs, it runs for about a kilometer and flanked on both sides by
carvings of human and animal figures. There are 12 large stone human
figures and 24 of animals which were supposed to change guards at
midnight, all carved from a single blocks of granite.
Tour To Chang Ling Ming Tombs