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Home Travel in Beijing The Ming Tombs
The Ming Tombs
Travel in Beijing

Ming Tombs
50 kilometers northwest from Beijing City lies the Ming Tombs (míng shí sān líng 明十三陵) - the general name given to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The mausoleums (líng mù 陵墓) have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis (dà mù dì 大墓地) of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.

 Dingling Tomb (dìng ling 定陵)
dinglingDingling is the joint burial tomb of the 13th Ming emperor Zhu Yijun (zhū yì jūn 朱翊钧) (1563—1620)and his two empresses. Zhu yijun, whose reign title (nián hào 年号) was Wanli (wàn lì 万历) and posthumous title (miào hào 庙号) was Shenzong (shén zōng 神宗), ascended the throne at the age of 10 and ruled for 48 years until he died at the age of 58. It took six years to build Dingling, construction of which started in Nov. 1584 and ended in June 1590. Dingling covers an area of 180,000 square meters.
The Underground Palace of Dingling is the only one of the Ming Tombs excavated so far. With the approval of State Council, the trial excavation started in May 1956 and was finished one year later. With a total floor space of 1,195 square meters, the Underground Palace is composed of five stone chambers: the front chamber, the middle chamber, the rear chamber and the left and right annex chambers. More than 3,000 pieces of cultural relics were unearthed from Dingling. In 1959 Dingling Museum was set up at the original site and was opened to the public.

Changling Tomb (cháng ling 长陵)
changlingChangling Tomb, Emperor Yongle (yǒng lè 永乐)'s Tomb, ranks the first among the thirteen Ming Mausoleums. Construction of Changling started in 1409 (the third year when Emperor Yongle issued an order to build Beijing Imperial Palace). It is the joint burial mausoleum of Emperor Yongle and his empress. With a history of about 600 years, it has been in good condition and remains resplendent. Because the project was massive and complex, huge amounts of manpower, material resources and financial resources were invested to construct Changling Tomb. It took as long as four years to construct the underground palace alone.
Changling Tomb, built the earliest among the 13 Ming Mausoleums, is the largest and most magnificent as well as the best-preserved one.
lingendianLing'en Hall (líng ēn dìan 祾恩殿)is the place where the heir emperors offered sacrifices to memorize Emperor Yongle. It is a double-eave structure with hip roof and the ground is paved with golden bricks. Sixty huge pillars and all wooden structural components are made of Jinsi Nanmu (jīn sī nán mù 金丝楠木) (a kind of rare and hard wood), which makes Ling'en Hall antique and unique. The bronze statue of Emperor Yongle, sitting in the throne carved with nine dragons, is extremely lifelike.
Inside the Ling'en Hall, hundreds of pieces of rare jewelry unearthed from the Underground Palace of Dingling are on display; the on-the-spot videotape on excavating the Underground Palace is broadcast. They may shed some new light on the profound mystery of the Underground Palace.

Zhaoling Tomb (zhāo líng 昭陵)
Located at the eastern foot of Dayu Mountains (dà yù shān 大峪山), Zhaoling is the joint tomb of Zhu Zaihou (zhū zài hòu 朱载垕) (1537—1572), the 12th Ming emperor and his three empresses.
The Underground Palace of Zhaoling was built by Emperor Shizong (shì zōng 世宗) for his parents on January 2, 1539.It was abandoned, however, as soon as it was completed. In 1572, it was ordered by the emperor to develop into an imperial mausoleum. Buildings were then added on the ground, and the mausoleum as a whole was completed in the following year. Occupying a land area of 34,600 square meters, the mausoleum basically followed the systems developed at the Tailing (tài líng 泰陵) and Kangling (kāng líng 康陵) in terms of architecture and layout.
At the turn of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, the buildings at the mausoleum suffered serious damages, with the Soul Tower and Ling'en Hall being burnt down in succession. During the reconstruction of the mausoleum between 1785 and 1787, Ling'en Gate, Ling’en Hall and the Soul Tower were restored. Later on, however, these buildings collapsed one after another due to weathering. In 1987, the Ming Tombs Special Zone Administration of Changping County (chāng píng qū 昌平区) restored all the buildings inside and outside the tomb palace on their original sites for the purpose of conservation of these cultural relics and promotion of tourism. In September, 1990, Zhaoling was opened to tourists as a scenic spot.
On display in the palace are the history of Zhaoling and life stories of the town.


Sacred Way (shén lù 神路)
It's the sacred way of Changling as well. It's called the General Sacred Way because the sacred ways of all the tombs derived from here. Construction of the Sacred Way started from 1435 and more buildings were added in 1540. The Stone Memorial Arch (shí paí fang 石牌坊), Great Red Gate (dà hóng mén 大红门)(with Dismounting Steles at both sides),Stele Pavilion of Divine Merits (shén gōng shèng dé bēi tíng 神功圣德碑亭) and Sacred Virtues, Stone Statues (shí xìang shēng 石像生) and Animals, Dragon and Phoenix Gate, Five-Arch Bridge (wǔ kǒng qíao 五空桥) and Seven-Arch Bridge (qī kōng qíao 七空桥) line from the south to the north. Among them, Stele Pavilion of Divine Merits and Sacred Virtues, the Stone Statues and Animals and Dragon and Phoenix Gates are the core architectures of the Sacred Way. The stone carvings, gravely modeled, accords with the solemn atmosphere of commemoration of the tombs and achieve a very high artistic level.

Address: Dingling Adininstration, Changling Town, Changping District
Post code:102213


Attractions nearby
Juyongguan Pass (jū yōng guān 居庸关)
Badaling Great Wall (Bā dá lǐng 八达岭)

Opening time
Ding LingDingling tomb 8:30-18:00 Tickets sold until 17:30
Changling tomb 8:30-17:30 Tickets sold until 17:00
Zhaoling tomb 8:30-17:30 Tickets sold until 17:00
Sacred Way:8:30-18:00 Tickets sold until 17:30

Ticket Price
Name Nov.1 to Mar. 31 Apr. 1 to Oct. 31
Dingling Tomb 40rmb 60rmb
Changling Tomb 30rmb 45rmb
Zhaoling Tomb 20rmb 30rmb
Sacred Way 20rmb 30rmb

Bus line
Tourist Bus Route: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Public Transportation is cheap, yet it can be quite a hassle for those that don’t speak Chinese. xThe first step to get to any of these location is to get to Changping. From Desehengmen (德胜门) bus station take Bus #345 支(zhi) to Changping Dongguan (昌平东关).
From Changping:
- take bus #314 which stops at Dingling and Changling.
- take bus #22 which stops 200 meters away from Zhaoling.
- take bus #947 to the “Waxworks Palace."
Unfortunately these buses do not run very frequently. It may take a half hour before it is possible to hop on a bus back into the city. There are other possible bus routes, some of which only run during special occasions.



  • It is necessary to remind visitors with heart problems to consider carefully whether they should enter the underground chambers. The atmosphere and dull lighting can be a problem 
  • Ming Tombs Museum exhibitate a large number of cultural relics recovered from the tombs.
  • The Memorial Arch is 14 meters high and 28.86 meter wide. It is the biggest and the most exquisite stone arch preserved in China today.
Ming Tomb
  • No smoking during your visit


举世闻名的十三陵,是明朝十三个封建皇帝的陵墓。坐落在北京西北郊昌平县境内的燕山山麓 。据京城约五十公里,总面积一百二十余平方公里。这里自永乐七年(1409)五月始作长陵,到明朝最后一帝崇祯葬入思陵止,其间230多年,先后修建了十三座金碧辉煌的帝王陵墓、七座妃子墓、一座太监墓。共埋葬了十三位皇帝、二十三位皇后、二位太子、三十余名妃嫔、一位太监(世系表)。是当今世界上保存完整埋葬皇帝最多的墓葬群。