Located in the southern foot of the main peak of Tianshou Mountain, Changling Tomb is the mausoleum for the Emperor Yongle Zhudi the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and his empress Xushi. The Changling Tomb is the largest and earliest tomb to be built during the Ming Dynasty. As the most important tourist attraction, its surface structures are well preserved.

Architectures of the Changling Tomb cover an area of 120,000 square meters, with a layout of square at the front and round at the back. The square part is made up of three courtyards. There is a Ling En Gate in the second courtyard. ‘Ling En’ was granted by the emperor Zhu Houcong on the 17th year of the Jiajing Era (1538). In Chinese, Ling means blessing and En means great kindness. Under the gate is a stage with white marble railings. There are three stairs at the back and front of the stage which have exquisite engravings of sea horses galloping underneath and vigorous dragons chasing fire on the upper side. On the left and right of Ling En Gate are two side doors. They are decorated by sets of yellow and green coloured glass which look bright and vivid compared to the red walls. Ling En Palace stands spaciously in the north of the courtyard. It was the palace for enshrining and worshiping memorial tablets of former emperors and empresses as well as offering sacrifices to gods and ancestors.

Ming Dynasty Tombs (Shisan Ling)

Jack Li

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