Zhaoling Tomb

Being one of the Ming Dynasty Tombs, Zhaoling Tomb lies on the east side of Mount Dayu in Beijing. It is where Zhu Zaihou, Ming Dynasty’s (1368 - 1644) twelfth emperor  and his three empresses are buried. Although restored many times and smaller than the other Ming Dynasty mausoleum, its structure remains the same as the other ones. Being one of the Ming Tombs open to the public, Zhaoling Tomb is the first that has been restored.

Zhaoling Tomb is located about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Qikong Bridge in Changling Tomb. Covering 35 square kilometers (13.5 square miles), it is a middle-sized Ming Dynasty tomb. The shape of Zhaoling Tomb, like that of many other tombs, combines a square yard at the front with a circular yard at the back. Within the tomb area, you will also find the Blessing and Grace Palace (also known as Ling’en Palace), the Gate of Blessing and Grace (Ling'en Gate) and other side halls.
Zhaoling Tomb of Ming Dynasty
Ling'en Palace at Zhaoling Tomb
Visitors at Zhaoling Mausoleum
Tomb of Emperor Zhu Zaihou
After going through the Gate of Blessing and Grace of Zhaoling Tomb, you will see a blank stele on a stone turtle standing under a pavilion on the left side of the first yard. Emperor Zhu was an ordinary emperor who was not very active in politics or administration, so it is hard to comment on his achievements. This explains why the stele is uninscribed. It nevertheless attracts the interest of many visitors. People like touching the turtle because one says that: 'Touching the turtle's head will free you from worries for the rest of your life; touching its behind will make you healthy for life.' Nowadays, the stele pavilion is the place where the Sacrifice to the Ancestors ceremonies are carried out in Autumn.

The resplendent and magnificent Blessing and Grace Palace (Ling’en Palace) standing in the center part is the main building, in which 'Displays of Zhaoling Tomb in Fall' are often set. In this palace, the Ming Dynasty's traditional culture can be felt. Next to it are some side halls, in which historical materials about Zhu Zaihou and his empresses as well as other materials relating to the tombs’ history are nowadays displayed for tourists.

In the back part of the Zhaoling Tomb is the circular yard, where the emperor and his empresses are buried. Two features shouldn't be missed. The first one is its structure which includes a 'dumb yard'. The legend says that the 'dumb yard' were built by mute workers so that the entrance to the tomb could be kept as a secret and the tomb's security therefore be protected. It is however just a legend and the name is in fact referring to its architectural characteristics. The Chinese mausoleum structure maintains a distance between the wall and the mound, but in the Zhaoling Tomb, it was constructed against the wall. There is no gap between them. The mound, combined with the outside wall, forms the 'dumb yard' while the wall is called 'Moon City'. This is at the origin of the 'dumb yard' structure in Chinese mausoleum. The second feature is its drainage system which is cleverly designed. Hidden gutters are built inside the walls as well as a well on each side, which guarantee that the yard and the mound are dry even if it rains heavily.

How to get to Zhaoling Tomb

1. Take bus 345 Express or 886 from Deshengmen West Station, get off at Changping Dongguan Station, and transfer to bus Chang 67 to Zhaoling Tomb.
2. Take bus 872 from Deshengmen and then transfer to bus Chang 67 at Dingling Daokou.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
Entrance Fee

April to October: CNY 30
November to March: CNY 20
Free for children under 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).

Opening Hours April to October: 8:30-17:00;
November to March: 8:30-16:30.
- Last modified on May. 09, 2019 -
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