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Uploaded on Sep 1, 2011
Fifty miles from downtown Beijing (about one hour driving in a private van with a small group) and lying in the Changping District, the Ming Tombs (thirteen in all) are the best-preserved Chinese imperial tombs with 600 years history. It is one of the extant imperial mausoleum building complexes in China of the largest scale and entombed the largest number of emperors (13 in all) and empresses (23 in all), including concubines. The construction lasted over 200 years, from 1409, the 7th year of Emperor Yongle's reign, until 1644, the 17th year of Emperor Chongzhen's reign, the time the Ming Dynasty collapsed. In 2003, the Ming Tombs were included in the "World Heritage List" by UNESCO.
Among the main structures here, we visited Tomb Gate, the Hall of Eminent Favor (which houses a very interesting museum), Changling, the head and the largest tomb of the Ming Tombs, where Emperor Yongle and his Empress Xu were buried, the Stone Five Sacrificial Utensils, and the Changling Tower.
Changling (the Tomb of Chang) is also the first tomb, built by Emperor Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, whose personal name was Zhu Di, for him and his empress. The mausoleum extends over an area of 100,000 square meters and is the principal and best preserved mausoleum among the thirteen mausoleums. There are color paintings on the ceiling and golden brick paved earth, which all added magnificent atmosphere to the palace.
Because the Ming Tombs are on the way to the Great Wall of China, we passed by for a short visit the Jade Museum, and had a sumptuous buffet lunch at its restaurant. Our sightseeing trip to the Great Wall is the subject of another video, too lenghty to be included here.
On the way back to the city, our sightseeing included the Water Tube, or the National Aquatics Center, the main swimming pool for Beijing 2008 Olympics, and one of the symbolic buildings of the Olympic Games held in the city.