The harmonious integration of remarkable architectural groups in a natural environment chosen to meet the geomancy (Fengshui ) makes the Ming Tombs marsterpiece of human creative genius .The imperial tombs are outstanding testimony to a cultural and architectural tradition for over 500 years dominated in this country.
It is located in Changping district about 50 kilometers away from the Beijing city .From the first Ming emperor tomb built here to the last emperor(1409-1644) ,it lasted more than 200 years.The Ming Tombs is called ‘thirteen emperor’s tombs’ in Chinese.It buried 13 mingemperors , 23 empresses ,two prince,more than 30 concubines.Area covering an ara of 40 square kilometers is the largest imperial tombs group in china even in the world.
There were 16 emperors in Ming dynasty .First emperor Zhu Di buried in Nanjing and one was missed in the war in Nanjing.One of the 14 emperors in Yanjing(Beijing)buried as prince,so 13 emperors’ tombs in the Ming tombs group. Ming dynasty originally built the capital city in Nanjing by the first emperor Zhu yuanzhang.Zhu Di was the fourth son of emperor Zhu yuanzhang .Prince Zhu Di was the general command of ‘Yanjing‘ present the city of Beijing area. Later Prince Zhu Di became third emperor of the Ming dynasty. After he became emperor, he decided to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing .His empress died in 1409 , and he ordered the geomancers to look for the auspicious site near Yanjing(Beijing).The geomancers found several places for consideration. Based on the FengShui, the present site of Ming Tombs was chosen as the greatest care.
FengShui is based on the superstitious idea of fortune ,disaster,good or bad luck ,and it is influenced by the philosophy and aesthetics of the traditional ChineseConfucianism,Taoism and Buddhism.It met people desire to get luck and satisfy their pursuit for the harmony between architecture and the surrounding environment.
You can enjoy the Ming Tombs as an whole group and aslo as an individual unit separately.They had similar designs with different sizes.Each tomb was built in front of each mountain.The distance between tombs was from 0.5 kilometer to 8 kilometers.Under the guidance of Chinese tradition geomantic theory ,from site selection to design,it had a strong emphasis on the architecture and nature landscape. As the outstanding representative of imperial tombs ,Ming Tombs shows the Chinese traditional culture.
Two Ming Tombs attractions :
1) Chang Tomb (Emperor Zhu Di’s tomb)
Chang Tomb was the first tomb in the Ming Tomb area.It was the tomb of emperor Zhu Di and his empress Xu.It is the largest and well preserved tomb of Ming tombs.
Born in 1360 ,Emperor Zhu Di is the third emperor of Ming dynasty.He died in 1424 at the age of 65.He became emperor in 1402 at the age of 43, after he usurped the power from his nephew.
During his reign , Emperor Zhu Di made great achievements in political, military ,economic , cultural.The most famous achievements : Yongle Encyclopedia and sending Zhenghe to trade with the west.Many famous attractions we see today were built under his reign : Forbidden city , Temple of Heaven , Ming Tomb .
Chang Tomb started the construction in 1409.It took 18 years and was finished in 1427.
Today , you can visit the exhibition of showing the relics excavated from the Ding tombs in the Hall of Eminent Favor in Chang Tomb.
2)Ding Tomb (Emperor Wanli’s Tomb)
Among all the 13 tombs , only Ding tomb ‘s underground palace was excavated.Here you can visit the underground palace. Ding tomb is the tomb of Emperor Zhu yijun with the reign title ‘Wan Li’.Here buried one emperor and two expresses in this tomb.
Born in 1563 , Emperor Zhu yijun was the 13th Emperor of Ming dynasty.When he was 10 , he came to the power .When he was 22 years old , he started building his tomb .It took 6 years to finish the construction from 1584-1590) with the cost of 8 million taels of silver equaling two years’ land taxes for the whole country .He celebrated for the completion of the tomb with a banquet in the underground city , which was never heard before .Emperor Zhu yijun ruled china for 48 years from 1573-1620.He did not pay attention to the state affair for 30 years , which made the country into rapid decline.
The Emperor’s tomb often buried one Emperor with one Empress in the main chamber. But in this tomb , buried one Emperor and two Empresses .Empress Xiao Duan was the Empress and Xiao Jing was the concubine.Empress Xiao Duan had no son, and Xiao Jing had a son who became emperor late.Concubine Xiao Jing died early ,and was buried in the concubine tomb.Emperor Zhu yijun and Empress Xiao Duan died at the same month .Xiao jing’s son came to the throne ,but unfornunately he died after 29 days .The grandson Emperor of Xiao jing upgraded his grandmother as Empress Dowager and moved his grandmother’s coffin to Ding tomb.That was the reason there were 3 coffin in one chamber.
Ding tomb was the only one excavated by the government to research the bury system in Ming dynasty.