Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasties
Added to the list in 2000, the site has been expanded to its current extent in 2004. The tombs on the list are from the last two dynasties of imperial China, the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644-1912), after which China became a republic. In addition to the tombs listed here, there are many more imperial tombs around China.
The burial chamber of a Chinese imperial tomb is known as the "underground palace" (地宫 dìgōng), as it is built to resemble a palace, and filled with what the emperor could possibly want in the afterlife.
- 1 Xianling Tomb (明显陵). Tomb of Zhu Youyuan, a Ming Dynasty prince who was the fourth son of Emperor Chenghua, and father of Emperor Jiajing. He was posthumously honored as an emperor after his son ascended the throne.
- 2 Eastern Qing Tombs (清东陵). The burial location of 5 emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Among the tombs here is Jingling (景陵), the tomb of Emperor Kangxi, the second emperor of the Qing Dynasty after the Manchu conquest of China. He is the longest reigning emperor in Chinese history, having reigned for 61 years, and is widely regarded to one of China's greatest emperors. With the exception of Xiaoling (孝陵), the tomb of Emperor Shunzhi, the first Qing emperor to rule over China, most of the tombs have been looted over the years, and four have their burial chambers open to public; Yuling (裕陵), the tomb of Emperor Qianlong, the longest living emperor in Chinese history, the tomb of Empress Dowager Cixi, who rendered two emperors puppets while she held actual power towards the end of the Qing Dynasty, as well as the tombs of Imperial Noble Consort Chunhui and Rong Fei, two concubines of Emperor Qianlong. Rong Fei is believed by most historians to be the historical concubine who inspired the legend of the Fragrant Concubine. The burial chamber of Emperor Qianlong's tomb is known for the intricate Buddhist carvings on its walls.
- 3 Jingtailing (景泰陵) (Jinshan, Haidian, Beijing). Tomb of the Jingtai Emperor, the seventh emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He ascended his throne after his elder half brother, the Zhengtong Emperor, was taken prisoner while fighting a war with the Mongols. He was subsequently deposed in a military coup after his half brother was released by the Mongols, and buried as a prince after he died. He was posthumously reinstated as an emperor during the reign of the Chenghua Emperor, and his tomb was upgraded to reflect this status.
- 4 Western Qing Tombs (清西陵). The burial location of 4 emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The largest of them is Tailing (泰陵), the tomb of Emperor Yongzheng, the third Qing emperor to rule over China, and known for his tyrannical yet competent rule. Chongling (崇陵), the tomb of Emperor Guangxu, the second last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, was looted in 1938, and its burial chamber is now open to the public. Puyi, the last emperor of China, also known as Emperor Xuantong, is buried in a private commercial cemetery behind Chongling, though his tomb does not differ much from regular modern tombs.
- 5 Thirteen Ming Tombs (明十三陵). The burial location of 13 of the 16 Ming Dynasty emperors. The largest, most impressive and best preserved of them is Changling (长陵), the tomb of Emperor Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The burial chamber of Dingling (定陵), the tomb of Emperor Wanli, is the only one to have been excavated and is open to the public for viewing. Many artefects were not properly stored and deteriorated significantly after the excavation, and it was overall regarded as a disaster, leading to the Chinese government adopting the current policy of not permitting the excavation of Imperial tombs except for rescue purposes.
- 6 Ming Xiaoling Tomb (明孝陵). Tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, also known as Emperor Hongwu, the founder of the Ming Dynasty. Located next to the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, the founding president of the Republic of China
- 7 Tomb of Chang Yuchun.
- 8 Tomb of Qiu Cheng.
- 9 Tomb of Wu Liang.
- 10 Tomb of Wu Zhen.
- 11 Tomb of Xu Da.
- 12 Tomb of Li Wenzhong.
- 13 Yongling Tomb of the Qing Dynasty (清永陵). Tomb honoring the ancestors of Nurhaci, the founding emperor of the Later Jin Dynasty (later to be renamed the Qing Dynasty).
- 14 Fuling Tomb of the Qing Dynasty (清福陵). Tomb of Nurhaci, the who united all the Jurchen tribes and became the founding emperor of the Later Jin Dynasty, which would be renamed the Qing Dynasty after his death. While he did not rule over the Han Chinese heartland, he laid the initial foundations that would allow for the Qing conquest of China under his grandson.
- 15 Zhaoling Tomb of the Qing Dynasty (清昭陵). Tomb of Hong Taiji, the second emperor of the Later Jin Dynasty, who would change its name to the Qing Dynasty, and change the name of his ethnic group from Jurchen to Manchu. While he did not rule over the Han Chinese heartland, he consolidated the empire that his father founded, which would eventually pave the way for the Qing conquest of China under his son.