The Ming Tombs are located in Changping district, about 50 kilometers to the northwest of Beijing city.
During the Ming Dynasty, there were 14 emperors from the Yongle Reign of Zhudi to the Chongzhen Reign of Zhuyoujian. 13 emperors had their tombs built there except Zhuqiyu (the Jingtai Reign) who was buried at the Golden Mountain in the western suburbs of Beijing, hence the name of the Tombs of 13 Ming Emperors (The Ming Tombs). Getting into the Mausoleum area, you first sight a stone archway which is the largest as well as the oldest one in China. Further down the pathway, stands the main gate (Dagong Gate) fronted by a stone tablet with the inscription of "All Persons Inclusive of Officials Dismount here!" Inside the Dagong Gate lies, south to north, a 750-meter-long road known as the Shendao (Sacred Way), lined with 36 vivid stone statues of Men and Animals (in 18 pairs) and 9 groups of 4 same statues each (two standing and two crouching). All statues were carved out of one single block of stone. Among the 13 Ming Tombs, each located at the foot of a small hill, only the Tombs of Changling and Dingling are open to public at present.
Encompassing an area of 10 hectares, Changling, the tomb for Emperor Zhudi and his wife lies at the foot of Tianshoushan (the Mountain of Heavenly Longevity). It comprises three courtyards with Changling Hall, or the Lingsi Hall on par with Taihe Hall (Hall of Supreme Harmony) of the Palace Museum, Dacheng Hall of Confucius Temple in Qufu of Shangdong Province and Tiankuang Hall of Dai Temple at the foot of Taishan. The Changling Hall covers an area of 1956.44 square meters, that surpassing that of the Taihe Hall (Hall of Supreme Harmony). It is supported by 60 precious columns, each made of a whole trunk of nanmu and remaining intact without any protection after 500 years.
Dingling, the mausoleum of Emperor Zhuyijun of the Ming Dynasty and his two empresses Xiaoduan and Xiaojing is located at the foot of Dayu Mountain. Lying 27 meters below the surface and covering an area of 1195 square meters, the Underground Palace is composed of 5 Chambers: the Front, the Middle, and the Rear Chambers, Left and Right Annex Chambers. The Rear Chamber, 9.5 meters high, 30.1 meters long and 9.1 meters wide is the largest. In the Chamber, the coffin of Emperor Zhuyijun is placed on the middle of the stone couch, with his two wives' coffins on each side. Over 3000 pieces of historical relics were unearthed from the Underground Palace. Among them, the Gold Crown and the Phoenix Crown are the unique treasures.