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Home : China Guide : Beijing : Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs

Brief       Sacred Road       Memorial Arch       Big Red Gate        Tablet House       Stone Animals & Statues       Dingling Palace

Although Beijing has been the capital of China for five dynasties, the only imperial mausoleums in the immediate vicinity of the city today are those of the Liao and Qing emperors are in the northeast China and in Hebei Province respectively. The tombs from the Jin Dynasty were destroyed at the end of the Ming Dynasty, and since the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty had no specific funeral rituals, there are no extant burial sites from this period.

Ming Tombs, BeijingThe Ming tombs lie in a broad valley to the south of Tianshou (Longevity of Heaven) Mountain in Changping County, about 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing proper. To the southwest of this valley, a branch of the Yanshan Range suddenly to breaks off and forms a natural gateway to the 40-quare-kilometer basin in which the tombs were built. This gateway is "defended" on each side by the Dragon and Tiger hills, which are said to protect this sacred area from winds carrying evil influences. Thirteen out of the 16 Ming emperors are buried in this peaceful valley.

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