Míng Xiàolíng Tomb
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Míng Xiàolíng Tomb information
Lonely Planet review
Zhu Yuanzhang (1328–1398), the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, was buried in the tomb of Míng Xiàolíng, and he was the only Ming emperor buried outside of Bějīng. The first section of this magnificent mausoleum is a 618m ‘spirit path’, lined with stone statues of lions, camels, elephants and horses that drive away evil spirits and guard the tomb. Among them lurks two mythical animals: a xiè zhì, which has a mane and a single horn on its head, and a qílín, which has a scaly body, a cow’s tail, a deer’s hooves and one horn.
As you enter the first courtyard, a paved pathway leads to a pavilion housing several stelae. The next gate leads to a large courtyard with the Línghún Pagoda (Línghún Tǎ), a mammoth rectangular stone structure. Look for the stalactites and stalagmites formed by years of water dripping down the walls. Walk through a long tunnel and up a wall, 350m in diameter, to get to a huge earth mound. Beneath this mound is the unexcavated tomb vault of the emperor.
The area surrounding the tomb is the Míng Xiàolíng Scenic Area (明孝陵风景区; Míng Xiàolíng Fēngjǐngqū). A tree-lined pathway winds around pavilions and picnic grounds and ends at scenic Zǐxiá Lake , ideal for strolling. A combo ticket of the tomb and Lińggǔ Temple Scenic Area is ¥115.
From Muxuyuan metro station (line 2), it’s a 1.6km walk uphill. Bus Y3 from the city centre also takes you there.