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Published: November 27th 2018
You can’t go to China without paying a visit to this place. Surely, there’s the Great Wall, but aren’t people a bit fed up with stories about it? Of course, your friends are going to ask you about the experience as soon as you come back, but how about also telling them a completely new story about the enormous mausoleum of the most powerful Chinese emperors? Forget about the Taj Mahal. The stories of people buried here are much more intriguing, and they aren’t lacking in romance either.
So, let’s talk about the greatest ancient structure that isn’t the Great Wall. Here are some interesting facts about Qing Dong Ling.
What made the Eastern Qing Tombs so impressive that they are a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site list? There are several good reasons that warranted it. First of all, it’s a huge tomb of not just any dynasty, but the most powerful imperial dynasty that ruled China from 1644 to 1911. During the period, the Qing dynasty ruled Taiwan, Vietnam, Tibet, Korea, Burma, Xinjiang and Mongolia. If you thought China is an enormous country, you should’ve seen it during the Qing dynasty
The tomb is massive enough to match the dynasty’s power, and the original builders certainly had eternal glory in mind when they constructed the whole place. The complex is neatly situated among the surrounding mountains and it stretches across 80 square kilometres. You needn’t worry about walking all the distance, though. There are electric cars provided to take you around for a small fee.
By the way, not only are the Qing tombs great in size, but in the number of its “residents” as well. Five emperors and 15 empresses were buried here, as well as 3 princes, 2 princesses and 136 imperial concubines. It sounds a bit crowded, but it was all thoroughly designed. The first tomb is the biggest, since it belongs to the founder of the dynasty, the Shunzhi Emperor
, who ruled between 1638-1661. He was the first Qing member to rule China, and the first to be buried here, too. What is especially amazing when discussing the multitude of these tombs isn’t just the fact that they were perfectly arranged and decorated, but that their construction followed feng shui principles without exception.
In addition, the whole place is so beautifully integrated into the surrounding nature that it is a real sight for sore eyes. First of all, there’s its grandeur, as we have already mentioned. Then, you can see hundreds of years of architecture and different styles which, amazingly, do not clash. Enjoy the dragon motifs on tiles, carved and decorated stone statues. The Tomb of Xiao Ling
is the most impressive as it is a huge complex consisting of a spirit way, palaces, and offering kitchens. The most successful Qing emperor, Emperor Kangxi (1661-1772) is also resting in this place, though his tomb fades in comparison.
What is especially interesting is the fact that Eastern King Tombs are equally visited by both foreigners and locals. This is not a place which is avoided by the local residents, as it is usually the case with some sights that are declared as ‘too touristy’ for a local to visit during peak season.
Finally, a word or two about the stories you are going to hear when you start looking around, which almost sound like fairy tales. For example, there is one about how a concubine rose to become one of the greatest leaders of China. Empress Dowager Cixi
is often compared to Queen Victoria due to their successes, and the fact that they both ruled around the same period. Cixi was known to be intelligent, a lover of arts, a ruler who was fearless and ruthless, yet she was also responsible for banning the “death by a thousand cuts
” punishment. This is just one of many engrossing stories you are going to hear.
If you are planning on visiting the tombs (and we certainly hope you are), it’s best that you are situated in the capital - Beijing. A useful travel guide
for exploring the city (and its surroundings) can reveal the most suitable accommodations for your budget, along with information about proximity to public transport, good restaurants and other interesting sites worth visiting.
The Eastern King Tombs really are a sight to be seen. A perfect match of the afterlife and authority depicted in one place. You can observe the greatest representations of religion and royalty, and they are bound to take your breath away.
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