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Home Travel in Jiangsu Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

 Ming Xianling Mausoleum
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
(míng xiào líng 明孝陵) is located at the southern foot of Purple Mountain (zǐ jīn shān 紫金山), in the east suburbs of Nanjing City (nán jīng shì 南京市). It is the mausoleum of Zhu Yuanzhang (zhū yuán zhāng 朱元璋), the first Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝) emperor. It was constructed in 1381, and took more than 30 years to complete. With a long history of more than 600 years, it is one of the largest imperial mausoleums existing in China, as a historical monument put under state protection. Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is regarded as the representative of the highest achievement in early Ming Dynasty, and has influenced the form of the imperial mausoleum in the following 500 years.

Zhu YuanzhangThe Hongwu Emperor (hóng wǔ dì 洪武帝), known variably by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang and by the temple name Taizu of the Ming (míng tài zǔ 明太祖) was the founder and first emperor (1368–98) of the Ming Dynasty of China. In the middle of the 1300s, with famine and plagues and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu became a leader of an army that conquered China, ending the Yuan Dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝) and forcing the Mongols to retreat to the Mongolian steppes. With his seizure of the Yuan capital Dadu (dà dū 大都, present-day Beijing), he established the Ming Dynasty in the year 1368.

The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum can be divided into two parts. One is the the Divine Path (shén dào 神道), the other is the main body. The Divine Path  is started from Xiama Tablet (xià mǎ fāng 下马坊), means that officials and others should dismount from their horses here and walk to the mausoleum so as to show respect for the emperor. With the length of about 1800 meters, there are 12 pairs of stone statues, which are the lion, camel, and elephant and horse etc., along both sides of the Divine Path. On the north path there are 4 pairs of huge statues of officials and generals. All of them can be regarded as the representative of the stone carvings in the early Ming Dynasty.

The Divine PathBig Golden Gate, the front gate of the Xiaoling Mausoleum, 750 meters away from the Xiama Tablet, is opposite to the Plum Hill (méi huā shān 梅花山). When you entering the gate, you can see the relic sites of the Xiang Palace (xiǎng diàn 享殿), where there are 64 stone pillars. The Xiang Palace at present was the one reconstructed in the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝), which is much smaller than the original one.

Big Golden GateAt the back of the Xiang Palace, there is a path with thick woods along side. At the end of the path, there is a stone bridge, which is called Shengxian Bridge (shēng xiān qiáo 升仙桥). To the north of the bridge, there is the Square City (fāng chéng 方城), The Square City is constructed with big stone, with 54 steps leading you to the hall. In the Square City, there is a "Tablet of the Divine Merit and Sage Virtue of Xiaoling of the Great Ming"( míng xiào ling shén shèng gōng dé bēi 明孝陵神功圣德碑). The tablet is 8.8 meters high and carries the inscription in regular script which extols Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's merits. After 600 years, the roof of the city was destroyed. With four walls about 16 meters high enclosed an arched passage way whose fifty-four stone steps slop down to the tomb gate.

Tablet of the Divine Merit and Sage Virtue of Xiaoling of the Great Mingthe end of the passage is a tablet inscribed "Tomb of Emperor Tai Zu of Ming". Behind high, castle-like walls is a mound 400 meters in diameter under a luxuriant growth of pines and cypresses, and beneath it is the underground palace where the emperor is buried.

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
East suburb of Nanjing City, southern foot of Purple Mountain
Admission fee: RMB 70
Opening hours: 8 : 00 a.m. - 18 : 00 p.m.
Transportation: you can take bus No. 2, 3, 20 to get there