Ming Tombs

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by John Lamb on March 2, 2002

Because the tombs are located on the way to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, they are a popular stop for the tour bus circuit. So the place is crowded and there is a long line to go down into the tomb.

The location of the tombs was chosen by the Emperor Yongle because of the landscape. The area is beautiful and there are some nice mountains surrounding the area. The tombs is where all but three of the sixteen Ming Dynasty emperors are entombed in underground vaults. Two of the tombs were excavated in the 1950's and are open for viewing.

The entrance area to the tombs is probably the best part of the tombs. The Soul Tower graces the sight and looks out upon the entrance area. There are also two side exhibition halls that displays some of the objects found in the tombs, like a crown and some jewellry. There is also some nice stonework in the courtyard, like a relief mural and relief dragon leading up a stairway.

The actual tombs themselves are not as bad as I thought they were going to be. The guidebook described them as anticlimatic, so I was expecting a hole in the ground and some dirt. But you actually walk down five flights of stairs down into the tomb. When I first entered the tomb, I did get a feeling of anticlimax because it was just a concrete room with nothing in it. But once we walked around and went through the different chambers it became more interesting. There was some really nice stonework done around the doors. There was also an Indiana Jones feeling of being in a mythical underground tomb 30 meters below ground.

However, in the end, the tombs are probably not worth the visit to see by themselves. They are a nice addition though to a day trip out to the Great Wall though.

Ming Tombs
Shi San Ling Te Qu
Beijing, China, 102213
+86 (0)10 60761423


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