Today we visited the Ming Tombs together with Li Xu and the parents of my friend. They picked us up at 10 am and one hour and 50 km later we arrived at the first gate of the tombs.
The Ming Tombs is the cemetery of the 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the whole area is about 80 km² large. After this first gate we walked down the Main Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs, a long avenue with twelve stone-animals on each side, one crouched and one standing. This way it looked like the animals would stand up for the dead emperor while he was carried down the way. After these animals there were also six stone-humans on each side, also for giving farewell to the emperor.
Then we were picked up again and were driven to the Dingling tomb where Wanli, the emperor from 1563-1620, and his two empresses were buried. The special thing about this tomb is, that it is the only one excavated so far. We first visited a small museum where we could see some of the over 3000 of cultural relics given as presents to the dead emperor. After passing a security check we were then allowed to go down into the Underground Palace. It is divided into five stone chambers and was excavated in 1956.
We left the Ming Tombs and drove back to Beijing (which took nearly two hours) to eat lunch. When asked what we would like to eat we had asked for dumplings, so we had some. This time we actually managed to order just a little bit too much food and it was very delicious (as usual).
Alex and Lukas