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Ming Tombs

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Introduction
The Tianshou Mountain where the Ming Tombs are located is within Changping County, 45 km to the north of Beijing, which form a group of mausoleums, are those of 13 emperors in the Ming Dynasty (1368~1644). They cover an area of about 120 square kilometers. Screened on the northwest by the lofty Yanshan Mountains, they sit on a small basin formed by floods.

History & Background
Construction of the Ming Tombs started in 1409 and ended in 1644, when the Ming Dynasty collapsed. It took 200 plus years to build the Ming Tombs from beginning to end. 13 imperial tombs, 7 concubines tombs and a eunuchs tomb are scattered in the valley.

The Ming Tombs is relatively conserved well compared with other Chinese imperial tombs. It boasts high historic and cultural values due to its grand architecture, complete system and long history. To conserve the cultural heritage, the central government has restored and maintained the Ming Tombs since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Architecture
The Ming Tombs adopt the method of construction placing the Changing Tomb of Emperor ChengZu at the center. Various other tombs formed an arc shape and jointly used the Shinto (path leading to tombs), not only reducing manual work, but also increasing the momentum of the tomb area.

Under the Ming tomb system, grave mounds are changed into round earth mounds, called "baoding" or tee. The front axis of the tee is a series of courtyards which emphasizes the in-depth composition of the axis. Such a design, which is more compact, is a good concept.

Among the mausoleums, the largest is the Chang Mausoleum while the smallest is the Si Mausoleum, but all of them were built in roughly the same way. They form a group, yet each of them stands alone as an independent unit. The Ming Tombs are characterized by its large size, complete system, and intact preservation. As the representative of ancient Chinese imperial mausoleums, they reflect the richness of traditional Chinese culture, with very high historic and cultural value. Entirely forbidden in the past, they are now a tourist attraction famous at home and abroad. Currently four spots are officially opened to the public, namely the Ding Mausoleum, the Chang Mausoleum, the Zhao Mausoleum and the passages to the tombs.

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Important Events
The Ming Tombs was promulgated by Beijing Municipal Government as one of the first batch of key ancient architecture and cultural heritage conservation site in 1957. 

It was listed as key cultural heritage under state conservation in 1961.

The Ming Tombs area was announced as a national key scenic spot by State Council in 1982.

It was evaluated as one of the best 40 scenic spots in China by National Tourism Administration in 1991.

The Ming Tombs was evaluated as imperial cemetery conserved intact with the most emperors buried in the world. By selection and evaluation committee of World Top on Beijing Tourism in 1992. 

It was evaluated as AAAA scenic spot by National Tourism Administration in 2001. 

The Ming Tombs was inscribed into the catalogue of World Heritage in the 27th session of World Heritage Organization of UNESCO on July 3rd, 2003.

Information
Address: The Ming Tombs Special Area, Changling Town

Opening hours: Dingling: 8:30-18:00; Changling: 8:30-17:30

Ticketing hours: Dingling: 8:00-17:30; Changling: 8:00-17:00; Zhaoling:: 8:00-17:00; Shenlu: 8:00-17:30

Transportation
Bus
22: Starting at Lishuiqiao Subway Station to Shenlu, Dingling and Zhaoling;

345: Starting at Deshengmen to Changping Dongguan and transfer to Bus 314 to Shenlu,Dingling and Changling;

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