the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the capital was located
in Nanjing, which is located in the southern portion of
Zhudi, who was the third Ming Dynasty, decided to move the
capital to Beijing so the boundary was northern and more
this change, the Imperial Palace and temples were built as
well as the construction of the famous Ming Tombs.
Over the years, thirteen Emperors were buried in the
tombs, which is where the name “Thirteen Ming Tombs”
are astoundingly large, measuring 40 kilometers in
of the size, the final construction took more than 200 years
to complete. The
walkway that leads to the Ming Tombs is flanked by 18 pairs
of giant stone statues, leading to the Changling, which is
the tomb of Emperor Yongle, who was by far the most powerful
and prominent of all Emperors during the Ming Dynasty.
of the Ming Tomb was chosen based on the theory of geomancy
and Feng Shui. This
particular location is surrounded by beautiful, rolling
hills that work to form a protective screen to the north.
On the east, Dragon Hill resides, on the west is
Tiger Hill, and to the south, the Wenyu River.
Together, these natural elements work to screen the
pleased with the location, Emperor Zhudi changed the name to
Heavenly Longevity Hill.
While not all of the tombs are open to the public to
enjoy, several are to include the Chang, Ding, and Zhao
seven kilometers going from the south to north and through
the center of where the tombs are located is a place called
the Sacred Way. Originally, this was built for the very first of the Ming
Tombs, Changling, which was Emperor Yongle’s tomb.
However, as time passed and additional tombs were
built, the Sacred Way became the main road leading to all
tombs are all together, they each stand as independent
Changling tomb is the largest of the 13 and as you can
imagine is quite impressive.
Within the walls of the Changling tomb is the third
Ming Emperor, Zhu Di who was buried with his wife, the
Empress Xu. This
Emperor was in reign from 1402 to 1424, making huge steps
toward cultural, economic, political military and diplomatic
tomb is the final resting place of the thirteenth Emperor
Wanli along with his two wives.
Having been born in 1563, this Emperor was crowned as
Prince at the early age of six.
By the time he reached age 10, he had become the
went on to rule for 48 years, making great strides for the
construction of this particular tomb began underground in
1584 when the Emperor was 22 years old.
The tomb was completed six years later but then
experienced damage during the peasant uprising of 1644, the
same year the Ming Dynasty collapsed. The DingLing tomb remained damaged until the reign of Qing
Emperor Qianlong but in 1914, the Gate and Hall of Eminent
Favor were again burned down.
the 13 Ming tombs, the DingLing tomb is the only one that
has been excavated to date.
During this process, more than 3,000 pieces of
precious and irreplaceable treasure were uncovered, which
included four Phoenix crowns that were worn by the Emperor
and Empress, and a golden crown.