Ming Tomb

Nanjing Ming Tomb, Nanjing Attractions, Nanjing Travel GuideThe Ming Tomb (Ming Xiaoling) is actually the mausoleum of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Zhu Yuanzhang. Located in the east outskirts of Nanjing, the total area of the mausoleum is 1,700,000 square meters (about 420 acres). It was originally built in 1381 and it took the workers more than 30 years to finish the whole construction. Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty in 1368, because of his poor family background and childhood poverty. Lying at the southern foot of the Purple Mountain, the tomb complex is one of the largest ancient mausoleums of the emperors of in China. It was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage sites in 2003. The long curving Sacred Way to the tomb is quite impressive, of which the approach is 1800 meters long. Lined up on sides of the way are pairs of camels, horses, lions, some unnamed spiritual animals that symbolize guarding spirits and a couple statues of officials used to protect the dead. The most magnificent relic of the tomb is the 8.87-meter-high Merits & Virtues Tablet erected on the back of a huge turtle, which is symbol of longevity. Historical records indicate that the mausoleum had a grand red wall, 22.5 kilometers long, enclosing the whole tomb area. After experiencing so many changes only the brick constructions have left and all the wooden parts were burned to be ashes. However, we can still see the exquisite stone carvings from the stone bases and imagine how magnificent it looked like 600 years ago. The position of the mausoleum was picked up by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang himself. The position along with the style of the structures left a great effect on the constructing of later mausoleums. The scenery around Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is extremely beautiful. Plum Garden in its south, Zhongshan Arboretum in its southwest and Sea World in its southeast are all worth visiting.