Monday, May 5, 2008

The Ming Tombs

Helpful info:
Admission fee: Changling Tomb: CNY 30 (Nov - Mar), CNY 45 (Apr - Oct)
Dingling Tomb: CNY 40 (Nov - Mar), CNY 60 (Apr - Oct)
Opening hours: Changling Tomb: 08:30 - 17:30
Dingling Tomb: 08:30 - 18:30
Visit time: 2 hours
Tourist Bus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

About 50 kilometres Northwest of Beijing a the foot of Dayu Mountain, the ‘Ming Tombs’ can be found. This is the name given to the Mausoleums of the Ming dynasties’ 13 emperors.

The original tomb was the Changling tomb , built for Emperor Zhu Di and his Empresses.
All the other 12 tombs are built around it but only two are open to the public – the first, Changling and the thirteenth, Dingling.

Changling is the largest and is completely preserved with the main building covering an internal area of 1,956 square metres and being the only large palace which is made of camphor wood.

Dingling, unlike Changling is built about 27 metres deep underground and is the mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun and his two empresses. The underground labyrinth houses 5 ‘palaces’ - front, middle, rear, left and right.

The Emperor and his two queens lie in the rear hall with Emperor Zhu Yijun in the middle and his queens on either side. Displayed along with the coffins are various treasures amongst which is the gold imperial crown, made of extremely fine gold threads, inlaid with two dragons playing with pearl. A rare treasure indeed!

Additionally 4 phoenix crowns, inlaid with thousands of pearls and precious stones were found. These were worn by the queens on important ceremonial occasions.

More than 3,000 items were uncovered here in Dingling tomb and many are on display in the Exhibition room.



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