Eastern Qing Tombs

Buildings of the tomb area
 Eastern Qing Tombs Pictures
Being a sacred burial ground near Beijing, Eastern Qing Tombs are one of the two tomb areas devoted to the emperors, empresses and imperial concubines of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911, the last feudal empire in China).The other is the Western Qing Tombs.

Among the finest, best-preserved and largest of the extant tomb complexes in China, the Eastern Qing Tombs are located along Changrui Mountain in the west of Malanyu Town, Zunhua County, Hebei Province. Along the south side of Changrui Mountain, the tombs of five emperors, four empresses, five imperial concubines, and one princess are arrayed based on the traditional concept of placing the most senior and most distinguished in the center.

Xiaoling, the tomb of Emperor Shunzhi (1638-1661, the first Qing emperor to rule China), is aligned with the axis of the main apex of Changrui Mountain, which indicates that the person buried there is the most exalted in the group. Other emperors' tombs lie on both sides of Xiaoling in a fan pattern from east to west according to the position each person occupied in the Eastern Qing Tombsfamily hierarchy. The tombs of empresses and concubines are placed alongside those of their husbands, clearly showing the master-subject relationship that they had in life. Sacred ways connect the tombs of the women with those of their husbands, and the sacred ways of the tombs of the other emperors connect with that of Xiaoling. Thus a branch-like system is formed, showing clearly the relationship of the rulers to their heirs.

Of all, Xiaoling is the biggest and most elaborate, standing as the focal point of the entire Eastern Qing Tombs. The grandeur of this tomb may be attributed to its having been the first sepulcher constructed for a member of the royal family of the Qing Dynasty, so the builders hoped to set the tone for a prosperous future. Crossing through the Great Red Gate, you can see buildings of different sizes, all with roofs of yellow glazed tile, connected by the brick paths or 'sacred ways' that converge in the area of Xiaoling.

An example of the most exquisite architecture of Eastern Qing Tombs is Dingdongling, the tomb of Empress Dowager Cixi.Inside the tomb Although she handled affairs of state for more than 45 years, she never ascended the throne. Elaborate and highly refined decorations and carvings inside Dingdongling make it unique among those of the Qing Dynasty. The main material used in the tomb, which took six years to build, was gold, the symbol of royal family.

Around the Gate of Eminent Favor (Long'enmen) of Dingdongling, elaborate carvings of dragons and phoenixes, drifting water and flowing clouds adorn the white marble balustrades. In front of the hall, on a colorful stone, we find examples of extraordinary techniques and unconventional design in additional intricate images of lively dragons and phoenixes.

Many of the minor tombs are also worth visiting. You can learn about Chinese culture while enjoying the beauty of the area.

Transportation:

 From Beijing:
 Take a coach to Zunhua at Sihui Long-Distance Bus Station, which is opposite to the Exit A of Sihui Station of Subway Line 1. The bus leaves at 06:25, 07:05, 07:45, 08:20, 09:05 and the ticket fare is CNY 55. Get off at Shimen Toll Station on the way, and then take a taxi to the scenic area.
 On weekends and holidays from April 7 to October 15, tour buses for Eastern Qing Tombs can be found near the Exit B1 of Xuanwumen Subway Station. Departure time: 07:30-08:30.
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search

 From Tangshan:
Take a bus from Tangshan West Coach Station to Zunhua at the fare of CNY 23. Then take a bus or taxi from Zunhua Bus Station to the scenic area.

 From Tianjin:
 Take a bus from Tongsha Long Distance Bus Station to Zunhua at 09:30 or 11:30. The fare is CNY 54. Then take a bus or taxi to the mausoleums.
 From mid-March to mid-November, there are tour buses running from Tianjin City to Huangyaguan Great Wall and Eastern Qing Tombs on weekends and holidays. Departure time: 06:30-07:00.

Apr. - Oct. Nov. - Mar.
Admission Fee CNY 122 CNY 82
Free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2m).
Sightseeing Battery Car CNY 30
Sacrificial Ceremony CNY 10 (09:30-10:00, 10:30-11:00, 14:00-14:30, 15:30-16:00)
Opening Hours 08:00-17:00 08:50-16:00
Recommended Time for a Visit It may take 2-3 hours or so on the way from downtown Beijing, single way. So prepare one day for the whole place.