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The tombs of the emperors of the Ming dynasty

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The tombs of the emperors of the Ming dynasty is a mausoleum complex, which is included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. It is located near the slope of Tianshou, in the South-West, about 50 kilometers from Beijing.

In Chinese the name of the tombs sounds "Shisanling", which literally translates as "Thirteen tombs". A complex of memorials, fenced off from the eyes of outsiders by a high wall. The total area of the mausoleum complexes 40 sq kilometers. Each crypt is reminiscent of a burial mound, next to a tower and fence. The tombs are subterranean and resemble a Palace, or a part of the Palace.

For the first time the tomb was found by archaeologists in 1956. They have unearthed the burial place of Sansuna, the Emperor, known by the name of Wanli. His tomb is called Dinlin and it is hidden under the mound. It has 5 halls with a total area of approximately 1195 square meters. In the great hall was formerly the sarcophagi of the Emperor and his wives, but at the moment there are wooden copies.

The largest tomb in the complex belongs to Yongle Emperor. In 1413 there was buried the wife of the Emperor, and after 11 years, and himself. Their burial place enclosed by walls, and each wall length of about a kilometer. The property is accessed via a sacred road, a length of 7 kilometers. The road laid out in 1435, and now it is often closed to outsiders.

The sacred way starts near the monument to Emperor Li Tsuchino and is an arch made of white marble. This arch was erected in 1540, a height she is about 14 meters and a width of approximately 30. The way starts with two hexagonal stone columns, which are covered with elaborate carvings of dragons.

Both sides of the road all along the way there are statues of people and animals: at first the lions, then syaji, camels, elephants, and zinnias. Then horses and people - some military, Ministers and officials. In ancient times it was believed that this procession - the spirits encased in stone, who will serve the Emperor in heaven. Hence the second name of the road - the "Way of the spirits". The sacred way ends with Heaven's gate, both sides of which are phoenixes and dragons, which symbolize power, strength and nobility.