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Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

ming xiaoling mausoleumThe mausoleum lies at the northern foot of Mount Zijin. It is the mausoleum of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Zhu Yuanzhang, and the empress, and is the largest among the mausoleums of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Although most of the ground buildings were destroyed during wars, the former splendor can still be seen from the existing wide approach, 800-meter-long, that leads to the mausoleum, flanked on both sides by giant stone statues of warriors and animals.

On an inscribed stone tablet outside of the gate of the mausoleum, an official notification of the local government in the Qing dynasty(1644-1911) ordered to protect the tomb. Inside of the gate, there is a pavilion in which 5 steles stand. The one in the middle was inscribed with 4 Chinese characters, which was written by Emperor Kangxi in his third inspection tour. Behind the pavilion, there used to be other annexes, however most of them collapsed into relics from which the original splendor can still be traced. The clay vault, which is 400 meters in diameter, is where the emperor and his queen were buried.

On stonewall surrounding the vault, 7 Chinese characters was inscribed, which means the mausoleum of Emperor Ming Taizu (respected title of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang). By the way, the mountain laying to the south of the tomb is the mausoleum of Sun Quan, King of State Wu in the Three Kingdom period(220-265). It is the reason why the sacred way is not straight.

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