The Sacred Way in Ming Tombs, is the approach to the Changling Tomb. Along the Way from south to north, you will see a number of sites of interest and beauty, including the Stone Tablet Archway, Great Red Gate, Tablet Pavilion, Ornamental Columns, Stone Figures, Lingxin Gate.
The Sacred Way, affiliated with the Ming Tombs, is a main road leading to all the tombs in this area. The road, seven kilometers long, has a stone memorial arch, Great Red Gate , a stele pavilion, stone statues and the Dragon and Phoenix Gate.
The Sacred Ways of Ming Tombs' is best preserved and most complete. It starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying at the front of the area. Farther in, the Stele Pavilion can be seen. Inside it, there lies a 50-ton tortoise carrying a stone tablet. A white marble Huabiao (ornamental pillar) is positioned at each corner of the stele pavilion. At the top of each is stationed a mythical beast facing either inward or outward, expressing hope that the emperor will neither cling to the palace nor forget to return to the Palace to handle state affairs. Then there are two Roof Pillars on each side of the road, the surfaces are carved with the cloud design, and tops are shaped like a rounded cylinder. After the 18 pairs of stone statues which are all sculpted from whole stones, and larger than life size, comes the Dragon and Phoenix Gate.
The stone memorial arch serves as a preface to the divine way. Built in 1540 A.C. during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.C.), the arch is the largest and earliest of its kind. The arch, 14 meters high and 29 meters wide, has six poles and five archways. Designs of kylins (a legendary mascot), lions, dragons and mythical beasts are gracefully embossed on its surface.
The Great Red Gate with three archways is the main gate of the whole imperial cemetery. A stele stands on each side of the gate with an inscription reading 'Officials must dismount from horses', which demonstrates the supremacy of the imperial power.
The stone statues along the sacred way are altogether 36, with 24 stone animals and 12 stone human figures. There are 6 kinds of animals, 4 in each group. The first group of animal is lion in the front, followed by camel, elephant, qilin and horse. They are in pairs; one pair is standing and the other pair is kneeling down. The stone human figures are: 4 military officers, 4 civil officials and 4 meritorious officials. The stone statues were put here served as ceremonial guards. Lingxing gate is also known as dragon and phoenix gate, it is located at the end of the road of the stone statues. The gate here represents the heavenly gate, it means by going through this gate he would be able to ascend to heaven. The 13 tombs are behind this gate.
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Some essential pillars in the Chinese capital are included in this marvelous full day tour to display signs of the magnificent richness of its culture. Start with a hike or take cable car to the top of Mutianyu Great Wall and overlook the rolling mountains covered with dense lush greens; stroll along the Sacred way and take snapshots of those vivid stone carvings; then soak in the museum above the ground at the Ming Tombs and marvel at the wonderful art unearthed.
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Sacred Way Photos