The Spirit Way, Ming Tombs 明十三陵, BeiJing

The Ming Tombs are a collection of mausoleums built by emperors of the Ming dynasty. They lie within the ChangPing District of BeiJing Municipality, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north-northwest of Beijing city center.

The site was chosen based on the principles of Feng Shui by the third Ming emperor, YongLe. Construction began after completion of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) in 1420. Subsequent emperors placed their tombs in the same valley; 13 in total.

The siting of the Ming dynasty imperial tombs was carefully chosen according to Feng Shui principles. A key guide is that bad spirits and cold winds from the north must be deflected; therefore, an arc-shaped valley area at the foot of the JunDu Mountains was selected. This 40 square kilometer area, enclosed by mountains in a pristine, quiet valley with dark earth and tranquil water became the necropolis of the Ming dynasty.

A 7 kilometer (4 mile) path named the Spirit Way, or Sacred Way, leads into the complex, lined with statues of guardian animals and officials, with a front memorial gate consisting of three arches called the Great Red Gate; constructed in 1540, it is one of the biggest stone archways in China.

Further in, lies the ShenGong ShengDe Stele Pavilion with a 50 tonne stone statue of BiXi carrying a memorial tablet. Four white marble HuaBiao (pillars of glory) are positioned at each corner of the pavilion; at the top of each is a mythical beast. Then come two pillars on each side of the path, whose surfaces are carved with a cloud design, and tops are shaped like a cylinder; these are of a traditional design and were originally beacons to guide the soul of the deceased, The path leads to 18 pairs of stone statues of mythical animals, which are all sculpted from single blocks; these are all larger than life size. After, the path leads to a three-arched gate known as the Dragon and Phoenix Gate.

Two of the mausoleums are open to visitors, but it is the beauty of the valley, with orchards, and the sheer scale of the area used for the tombs, that make this a nice day out in the countryside.

[640],shadow=true,start=33,stop=
   

Related Videos

Featured Videos

The ShangHai 上海 World Expo farewell concert
September 31st, 2010.
Happy in Beijing 北京  : )( :
Family and friends from the Philippines on a trip to Beijing ...
Forbidden City 紫禁城 scenes, BeiJing – video
Views of the Palace Museum ...
A trip to WuXi 无锡 city, JiangSu province
WuXi is an old city that lies between Changzhou to the west and Suzhou to the east, not far from ShangHai. It also lies on Lake Tai. WuXi is well known for being one of the birthplaces of China's modern industry and commerce. The giant Buddha at LingShan, WuXi ...
West Lake 西湖 boat trip, HangZhou 杭州
ZheJiang province. Xī Hú is a fresh water lake with the city on side. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, bridges and artificial islands within and around the lake. West Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an outstanding example of Chinese garden arts and the guiding principle of harmony between human and nature.
Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡, YunNan province – slideshow video
60 kilometers north of LiJiang in south west China. The gorge is about 15 kilometers long and passes the 5,600m high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Pandas at the ChengDu 成都 Panda Research Center
Pandas doing their favorite thing - eating bamboo :) Filmed at the Chengdu Panda Research Center, ChengDu, SiChuan province, in 2008. The smaller Red Panda :
A walk through the beautiful Forbidden City 紫禁城, BeiJing
The nearly one million square meter Palace Museum lies at the heart of Beijing ...
Beautiful Beijing 北京
Featuring many places from around the blue sky city of Beijing ...
ZhuZhou  株洲 – Best Days of my Life  : )
An up-lifting music video by Nate Noble; filmed during a stint teaching English in ZhuZhou ...
Songs from the ShangHai 上海 World Expo opening concert
A selection of the songs and fireworks ...
Even more songs from the Voice of China
Starting with 'Listen', 'Feeling Good', 'At Last' and 'Something's got a hold on me'. Plus 'Price tag', 'Time to say goodbye', '(Does that make me) Crazy', 'She's gone' and 'What a wonderful world', plus some classic Chinese songs. Not to be missed ... "It wasn't because I didn't know that much ... It was just I knew TOO much .

A selection of popular videos

Keyword / tag search :