MING TOMBS, Zhaoling Tomb

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English / USA Language: English / USA

The Zhaoling Tomb is about two kilometers from the Changling Tomb, and is medium-sized. This monument also has a square part at the front, symbolizing the earth, and a semi-circular part at the rear, representing heaven.

Once you go through the Blessing and Grace Gate, below a pavilion on the left side of the first courtyard, you’ll see a plain stele with no writing on it, mounted on a stone tortoise. Emperor Zhu Zaihou was a mediocre figure who achieved no particular success during his reign, which lasted just five years, so the stone to commemorate his endeavors remained blank.

Today, the stele pavilion is where the Sacrifice to the Ancestors ceremony takes place in autumn.

The splendid, magnificent Blessing and Grace Palace, in the central part, is the main building. Next to it are a number of side rooms, where you can see historical findings related to Zhu Zaihou, his empresses and the construction of the tombs.

At the rear of the Zhaoling Tomb is the circular courtyard where the emperor and his empresses are buried.

These tombs have two distinctive characteristics. First of all, one of the courtyards is known as the “dumb courtyard”.

Legend has it that it was built by workers unable to speak, so that the entrance to the tomb could be kept secret. However, the name actually refers to the architectural characteristics of the construction. The Chinese mausoleum structure is supposed to maintain a distance between the wall and the burial mound, but in this tomb, the mound was constructed against the wall: hence the name "dumb courtyard".

The second characteristic is the ingenious drainage system.

There are gutters incorporated into the walls, and there is a well at either side, so as to keep the courtyard and the burial mound dry even in heavy rain



An interesting fact: do you know why so many people touch the back of the stone tortoise? According to legend, it’s supposed to free you from worry forever.

Our visit to the Ming Tombs ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!


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