Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing

Why is Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum so Special?

Ming Xiaoling is located at the south foot of Zijin Mountain in Nanjing City. It is the largest Mausoleum of emperors in Nanjing and one of the largest mausoleums of emperors in ancient China. It was listed as a World Cultural Heritage in 2003.

Ming Xiaoling is the mausoleum of King Zhu Yuanzhang(朱元璋), the first emperor of Ming dynasty, and Queen Ma(马氏). Ming Xiaoling represents the the highest achievements of Ming architecture and stone carving art. It has a direct impact on the Ming and Qing dynasties imperial mausoleum of more than 500 years, such as the imperial mausoleum in Beijing, Hubei(湖北), Liaoning(辽宁), Hebei(河北) and other places. Ming Xiaolingin has a special position in the development of the mausoleum, it has the reputation of The Best Imperial Mausoleum of the Ming and Qing Dynasties(明清皇家第一陵).

Background of Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum was built in the 14th year of Hongwu(明洪武十四年,1831), and completed in the 3rd year of Yongle(明永乐三年,1405), which took 25 years and about 100,000 workers to complete. According to the Chinese tradition of imperial mausoleum building, Ming Xiaoling perfectly reaches the harmony between nature and humanity, has become an excellent model of the combination of traditional Chinese architectural art culture and environmental aesthetics.

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and Empress Ma. Because Empress Ma’s was called “Empress of filial piety(孝慈高皇后)” and because she pursues filial piety(孝, Xiao in Chinese) to govern, so the mausoleum is called “Xiaoling(孝陵)”. What’s more, the mausoleum covers an area of more than 1.7 million square meters and is one of the largest Imperial Mausoleums in China.

Highlights of Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

Great Golden Gate(大金门)

The entrance of the mausoleum is Great Golden Gate. The gate is 26.66 meters long, 8.09 meters wide and 5.05 meters high.
Facing south, the gate has three gateways fit with vermilion door pancls. Its stone Xumizuo(须弥座) girdled with floral motifs embodis the creativity in the imperial buildings of the early Ming Dynasty. Its single-eave-and -hip roof(单檐歇山顶) originally covered with yellow glazed tiles was destroyed, while connection to the red outer walls can stell be seen from its west side.

Yuhe Bridge(御河桥)

There is abundant rainfall in Nanjing. In order to ensure the safety of the mausoleum, the Ming Xiaoling must have a perfect drainage system.
There are three drainage systems in Xiaoling Mausoleum: the Outer Yuhe Bridge, the Inner Yuhe Bridge and the Baocheng Yuhe Bridge(宝城御河).The Outer Yuhe Bridge is between the Stele Pavilion(碑亭) and the Sacred Way(神道). It is a brick arch bridge. The Inner Yuhe Bridge leading directly to the Mausoleum Palace. It used has five bridges arranged parallelly, so also known as the “Wulong Bridge(五龙桥)”. And the Baocheng Bridge is located at the entrance of Bao Ding Building(宝顶). 

Sacred Way(神道)

The Sacred Way of Xiaoling Mausoleum is 800 meters long and quite spectacular. It stretches from east to northwest, with stone lions on both sides.The lion is the king of all animals, which shows the absolute power of the emperor. It not only symbolizes the imperial power, but also plays the role of avoiding evil.

Imperial Tablet Hall (碑殿)

There are 5 tablets in the Imperial Tablet Hall. Fhe center one, the four Chinese character 治隆唐宋 (Zhi Long Tang and Song Dynasties) on it, which was wrote by Emperor Kangxi(康熙皇帝). It means the achievements of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang is greater than Tang And Song Dynasties, which shows the respect of Emperor Kangxi.

Bao Ding Building(宝顶)

Bao Ding Building is the upper part of the underground palace where Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and Empress Ma are buried together, commonly known as Bao Cheng(treasure city, 宝城). Bao Ding is round, about 400 meters in diameter, remained solid and safety till now.

How to Get to Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

Travel with China Dragon Tours (top recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Xiaoling Mausoleum with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on travel.

Independent Travel

For Independent travelers you can

  • By Bus:
    The Bus No.20 in Nanjing City can get to the Xiaoling Mausoleum directly.
  • By Sightseeing Bus:
    Take the Sightseeing bus at the Xuanwu Lake Station(玄武湖站) and you can get to the Xiaoling Mausoleum directly. It will take you about 50 minutes, 30 CN¥.
  • By Taxi:
    It will cost you about 50 CN¥ from Nanjing South Railway Station to Xiaoling Mausoleum.

Recommended Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing Tours

Top Xiaoling Mausoleum tour chosen by most customers to explore Xiaoling Mausoleum in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

6 Days Nanjing Suzhou Hangzhou Shanghai Tour

Nearby Attractions

Xuanwu Lake

Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖) is located in Xuanwu District in the central-northeast part of Nanjing, Jiangsu. It is designated a National Grade AAAA Attraction. It is near the Nanjing Railway Station. There are five islands within the lake are interconnected by arched bridges. Within the park are temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens, teahouses, restaurants, entertainment venues, a small zoo, and other attractions. Its main entrance is the Xuanwu Gate.

Confucius Temple

Nanjing Confucius Temple, namely Nanjing Fuzimiao(南京夫子庙) and Nanjing Wenmiao(南京文庙), is located in Gongyuan Street(贡院街) on the North Bank of Qinhuai River(秦淮河), Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. It is the place for offering sacrifices to Confucius. It is one of the the four major Confucian temples in China. And it is China’s famous national 5A Tourist Scenic Spot.

Presidential Palace

Nanjing Presidential Palace, located at No. 292 Changjiang Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省南京市玄武区长江路292号), is the largest and most complete architectural complex in modern China. It is also the important site of modern Chinese history. Now, it has been established as the Museum of Modern Chinese History(中国近代史博物馆).

Purple Mountain

Purple Mountain(紫金山) or Zijin Shan, Zhongshan Mountain, is located on the eastern side of Nanjing in Jiangsu province. Covered by verdant trees, the main peak of Purple Mountain is 448.9 meters above sea level. Its peaks are often found enveloped in mysterious purple and golden clouds at dawn and dusk, hence its name. It is a national 5A tourist scenic spots in Jiangsu, as well as a world cultural heritage. Priple Mountain is not noly full of baeutiful natural scenery but also rich in cultural.

Useful Travel Tips

1. Best Time to Visit

Spring and autumn are the best seasons for traveling, it’s neither too cold nor too hot. In spring, Meihua flower blossoms and the scenery is fascinating. In autumn, the red leaves on Qixia Mountain(栖霞山) are like fire and the forest became red.

2. Ticket Fare

The entrance tickets for the Xiaoling Mausoleum is 70 CN¥per person.