The thirteen Ming Tombs are scattered over an area of forty square kilometres in Changping District to the northwest of Beijing. On our short tour we were only to see a small fraction of this.
The Ming Tombs were constructed during the Ming Dynasty, the first tomb being built in 1409 and the last in 1644.
Leading to the tombs there is the Sacred Way or Spirit Path. it is 7 km in length and lined with stone animals and figures. The procession starts with four lions, four Xiezhai (mythical beasts with a single horn), four elephants, four Qilin and four horses.
In each group one pair is standing and the other is kneeling .Each statue is carved from a single piece of white marble.
The human figures are four military officials,four civil servants and four meritorious officials.
At the end of the Sacred Way lies the Stele Pavilion. Inside is a 50 ton stone statue of Bixi
Outside are four huge pillars each topped with a mythical beast.
It was mid afternoon when I was there are the sun was still trying to poke through the haze.
Another fascinating day. So much culture.