Huangdi Mausoleum in Xian

Why is Huangdi Mausoleum So Special?

  1. Huangdi, the initiator of Chinese civilization, was a great tribal leader in the final primitive society of ancient times.
  2. The Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) Mausoleum was originally built in honor of the first mythical king and progenitor of the Chinese people.
  3. As an AAAA-class scenic place, the Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is not only a beautiful resort, but also an important national relic.

Brief Introduction of Huangdi Mausoleum

The Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor used to be called “Bridge Mausoleum” in ancient China due to its location on the Qiao Mountain or Bridge Mountain. According to historic data, Chinese had worshiped Yellow Emperor early in 442 BC and the mausoleum had become the site for national sacrifices since 770 AD (Tang Dynasty). In 1942, Chiang Kai-shek, former Chairman of Central Committee of the Kuomintang, visited the mausoleum, inscribed “黄帝陵” (Huangdi Ling) and made it the name of the mausoleum. Since then the stele with the new name stood there and the county the mausoleum locates was named after “黄陵 (Huangling)” instead of the original “中部 (Zhongbu)”.

Nowadays the Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor is embraced by more than 80,000 ancient cypresses on the Bridge Mountain. Surrounded by a black brick wall and a sacrifice pavilion, the grave mound remains 3.6 meters in height with a perimeter of 48 meters, in front of which stands an old stele set up in 1537.

History of Huangdi Mausoleum

Huangdi, the initiator of Chinese civilization, was a great tribal leader in the final primitive society of ancient times. His family name was Gongsun. Because he grew up at Xuanyuan hill (in Xinzheng County of Henan Province), he was called Xuanyuan. He worshipped the virtue of the yellow earth (the source of foods and clothes); hence people call him Huangdi.

It is said that Huangdi lived for a hundred years or more from about 2697 to 2597 BC. The stories about his life are all clearly mythical however. He is said to have taught the people of his tribe how to grow grain, tame animals, use a calendar, and use various weapons. He is also said to have invented carts and clothing. His wife is said to have taught the people sericulture (silk fabric making).

It is said that he met a supernatural creature that talked and taught him about hundreds or thousands of kinds of supernatural creatures. He also led a war against fierce monsters of 9 barbarian tribes, and his army won because he was able to call on the god of draught called Nuba. In the end, a dragon came, and he rode it. It is said that as people tried to hold him to the earth as the dragon was taking him away, they pulled off his clothes but couldn’t catch him.

Best Time to Go to Huangdi Mausoleum

All year round. The peak season of traveling to Xi’an is in the spring and autumn. In summer the temperature is high with strong ultraviolet ray. It is easy to cause heat stroke under the blazing sun for quite a long time in outdoor, and sometimes it will rain, so tourists should watch the weather forecast in advance before visiting. What’s more, tourists need to put on sunscreen and try to avoid ultraviolet rays during the day time travel; Winter temperature is low, the wind is piercingly cold, only suitable for indoor attractions visiting.

Main Attractions of Huangdi Mausoleum

Xuanyuan Bridge

8.6-meter-wide, 66-meter-long, 6.15-meters-high, the Xuanyuan Bridge at the north end of the square in front of the Temple of Yellow Emperor with carved guardrail is made up of 121 stone girders, forming a pleasant scene with its surrounding nature. The north end of the Xuanyuan Bridge leads to the mountain gate that is the main entrance to the mausoleum area.

Mausoleum Area

One the side of the stone way to the mausoleum there is a “dismount stone”, on which there is an order requiring imperial officials to dismount there to show their respect to Yellow Empeor. The “Immortal Platform of Emperor Handudi (汉武仙台 Hanwu Xiantai)” near the mausoleum is said to be built for Hanwudi to worship Emperor Yellow after he won in war against the Xiongnu ethnic minority. In the stele corridor at the eastern side of the mausoleum area 57 funeral orations are collected; in addition, inscriptions by many modern Chinese leaders such as Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping are displayed in the memorial pavilion. The Great Hall of Ancestor of Chinese is the main hall where the anaglyph of Yellow Emperor made of dark jade is enshrined and worshiped.

Xuanyuan Temple

Xuanyuan Temple is also named Huangdi Temple, established in the Ming Dynasty (1368 — 1644). The main structures inside the temple are Temple Gate, Chengxin Kiosk, Stele Pavilion and ‘Renwen Chuzu’ (Huangdi, the initiator of Chinese civilization) Hall. Inside the grand ‘Renwen Chuzu’ Hall, Huangdi’s seat of spirit tablet (an exquisite piece of wood with his name on it) is worshipped. People can do obeisance or hold ceremonies in front of it. Among 14 cypresses in the courtyard, the must-see ones are two: the cypress planted by Huangdi and the Jiangjun (general) cypress. It is said that Huangdi planted the cypress thousands of years ago to encourage planting of trees and forestation. Now the huge green umbrella is 19 meters high (about 20.8 yards) and is the oldest cypress in the  world. There is another legend about the Jiangjun cypress that says Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty ever hung his visor on the pine, so people call it Jiangjun cypress. It is also a rare type of cypress. Situated in the west portion of Xuanyuan Temple is the Gongde (merits and virtues) Altar, the theme of which is the outstanding achievements of Huangdi.

How to get to Forest of Huangdi Mausoleum

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Huangdi Mausoleum in Xi’an in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

Bus from Xi’an Nanguan Bus Station or Xi’an Chengdong Bus Station to Huangling County;
Coach from the Bus Station in south Xi’an Railway Station directly to Huangdi Mausoleum.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Whilst exploring the city, make sure to take a legal taxi which charges you based on a meter. There are lots of fakes and these will charge you a lot more for your services. Always ask the taxi driver to start a meter.
  2. Tel: 0911-5212742
  3. The best tourism time: it is in Tomb sweeping Day and  Double Ninth Festival (the ninth day of the ninth lunar month) as there are some activities of memorizing the ancestors.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月