Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

Located at the southern foot of Zijin Mountain (Mount Purple Gold) is Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty's founder emperor--Zhu Yuanzhang. The mausoleum was built from 1381 to 1405 and received the name Xiaoling (means filial tomb) after the death and burial of Empress Ma who was titled "the filial empress".

The mausoleum mainly consists of two areas: the leading Sacred Way and the major tomb structures. At the entrance, a restored stone gateway named Xiamafang (means dismounting from the horse) was the places for all the ancient officials getting off the horse to show respect. Pass the front gate and you can see a traditional-looking museum that was reformed from an old factory and opened in 2009 with plenty of displays, publications and video resources for your deeper understanding this Ming Dynasty tomb. Then reach the Tablet Pavilion also nicknamed Sifang Cheng (Square City) which houses a giant tortoise bearing a stele of the emperor accomplishment inscription. The winding Sacred Way is divided into two sections: the east-west 615-meter path lined with giant beast statute pairs advocating the emperor's wisdom and strong ruling power and northward 215-meter path flanked with 4 stone-cut-out general statues and 4 civil official statues loyally guarding the tomb.

Then arrive at the courtyard leading to a pavilion with several steles inscribed by later emperors. A giant-stoned road leads to the reconstructed tomb's main body structure—Xiangdian that houses copy figures of the Zhu Yuanzhang emperor and Empress Ma and sculptures depicting different scenes. The next gate leads to the strip-stoned Fangcheng (a castle-like building) and forested mounded Baocheng (a structure built in palace style with four walls left only) right beneath which is located the unexcavated tomb vault of Ming dynasty founder emperor and his empress.

The surrounding area of the heavily-planted mausoleum has covered Plum Blossom Hill and Zixia Lake (Purple Glow Lake) that people favor for picnic or wandering in green spring and colorful autumn.