Like giant beehives scattered on the arid eastern slope of the Helan mountains, the Xixia imperial tombs are Ningxia’s most celebrated sight. The earliest tombs were built a millennium ago by Li Yuanhao, founder of the kingdom. There are nine tombs, plus 250 lesser tombs, in an area of 50 sq km. The one you’ll see (Tomb No.3) belongs to Li – constructed as a 23m-tall wooden pagoda, now weathered to its earthen core. The tomb site is fashioned like a miniature city with towers, city walls and temple.