The Ming Tombs are located in Changping District, about 50kilometers to the northwest of Beijing. This imperial cemetery covers an area of 80square kilometers with 13Ming emperors, 23 empresses, many imperial concubines, princes and princesses buried here. These tombs are the best preserved of all Chinese imperial tombs. There are a total of 13Ming Emperors buried in this area, so it is called the “Thirteen Ming Tombs” in Chinese. In 1961, the Chinese Government listed the “Thirteen Ming Tombs” as one of the important historical monuments under special preservation, and in 2003 the ”thirteen Ming Tombs” were listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO.
Only the Changling and Dingling tombs are open to the public. Changling, the chief of the Ming Tombs, is the largest in scale and is completely preserved. The total internal area of the main building is 1956 square meters. There are 32 huge posts, and the largest measures about 14 meters in height. It inhumes Emperor Zhudi, the fourth son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. We recommends the Ling’en Palace in its second yard as really deserving a visit. This is unique as it is the only huge palace made of camphor wood. It covers about 1956 square meters. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor was decorated with gold bricks.
A scared Way is always found in an imperial cemetery. The Scared Way of the Ming Tombs is 7.3 kilometers long from the Memorial Stone Archway to the gate of Changling. The main structures along the Scared Way are: Marble Archway, Great Palace Gate, Tablet Tower, Stone Statues and Dragon and Phoenix Gate. The Scared Way originally built for Changling, Emperor Yongle’s Tomb, but since the other twelve tombs were also built in this area, either to the right or to the left of Changling, The Scared Way became the main road for all of the thirteen tombs.