A dignified pavilion rises behind the main entrance of the magnificent Ming Necropolis, which is located 50km northwest of Beijing. Seven kilometres long, the holy avenue, 'Spirit Way', of the Ming Necropolis is lined with numerous beautiful stone figures.
Dingling, the mausoleum of the 13th Ming Emperor, Wanli, is one of three restored grave sites where elegant stairs, decorated with beautiful stone masonry, lead up to the terrestrial section of the mausoleum. According to ancient Chinese tradition, an earthly section had to be built for the soul of the dead, in which the soul would be comforted. For this reason, the magnificent buildings and great halls were designed in the style of the emperor's palace.
The expenditure for the royal funerals was without limit and it took almost six years and around 30,000 workers to build the grave complex for Emperor Wanli.
Changling is the largest mausoleum of the Necropolis and was built for Emperor Yongle, who reigned during the beginning of the 15th century. But this extremely well restored grave site has a darker side to it. Together with the Emperor, it is believed that 30 living concubines were buried in this grave.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.