Zhaoling Mausoleum in Xianyang, Xian

Why is Zhaoling Mausoleum So Special?

  1. Zhaoling Mausoleum, also know as Zhao Mausoleum, is the tomb of Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty (618-907); he was one of the most brilliant rulers in Chinese history.
  2. With a circumference of 60 km and a total area of 20,000 ha, Zhaoling is the largest royal mausoleum in China and the world.
  3. The Zhaoling Mausoleum is known as the “Eighteen Tombs of Tang Dynasty” in Guanzhong. Is a representative of  Tang’s emperor mausoleum, known as the “World Famous Mausoleum” (天下名陵).
  4. Zhaoling as a witness to the development from the beginning of Tang to its eventual prosperity. It is also a valuable treasury to help us know the culture, politics and economy of the Chinese feudal society; kept here are large quantities of calligraphy, sculpture and painting works. 

Where is The Zhaoling Mausoleum?

The Zhaoling Mausoleum is the largest out of the 18 Tang dynasty mausoleums, known to date. It is also the largest mausoleum in the world. The mausoleum is located in the central part of Shaanxi Province, 80 km to the north of Xi’an, covering an area of about 20 hectares. Its construction was started in 636 by Emperor Li Shimin (also known as Emperor Taizong) after the death of Empress Wende. He ordered to lay an underground passage in Jiuzong Mountain, chosen for the construction, to connect the foot with an underground palace.

How to get to Zhaoling 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 Zhaoling Mausoleum in Xianyang in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

From Xi’an:
Take a bus from Xi’an North Bus Station/ South Bus Station to Yuanjiacun Village, which is a famous folk culture village, providing all kinds of local snacks. Then, you can walk south for about 2km (1.2mi) to Zhaoling Museum where some relics from Zhaoling are exhibited. Zhaoling Mausoleum is about 12km (7.5mi) from the village, and you can take a taxi or private car there.

From Xianyang:
Take a bus from South Bus Station to Yuanjiacun Village. And then you can follow the above route to Zhaoling Museum and Zhaoling Mausoleum.

Best Time to Visit

Spring (march-may) : suitable for historical sites, natural scenic spots, can wear thin shirt.   
Autumn (September – November) : suitable for visiting historical sites, natural scenic spots, but the climate sometimes changeable, to pay attention to prevent a cold.

Winter is not a good time to travel Xi’an, followed by summer: winter is cold and dry, the temperature is low, cold and biting when the wind blows.At this time to visit the indoor attractions more appropriate. Summer is very hot, especially in the middle of summer, the sun is strong, around noon is the sun exposure; There are occasional storms, but they come and go quickly. Please take precautions against sun protection when you go out.

Main Attractions

The mausoleum was a grand engineering project spanning over a decade. Famous painters Yan Liben brothers were among the chief designers of the tomb which features meticulousness and flamboyance in style. Quantities of gold and silver treasures were packed to accompany the deceased emperor, as well as caskets of paintings and books that the Emperor liked. It is said that among the collections was China’s top work of calligraphy Lan Ting Ji Xu (Anthology of Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion Party by Wang Xizhi). The Emperor was so fond of it that he would like to go on enjoying it after death.

Like most other royal mausoleums, Zhaoling Mausoleum have suffered from tomb-breaking and looting, the most notable of which was masterminded by a warlord in the Five Dynasties (907~960) period. He broke into the tomb and saw the underground palace which was just as splendid as the royal palaces in capital Chang’an.

Six Steeds of Zhaoling 昭陵六骏

Few surface structures survive today. However, a large number of cultural relics have been unearthed at Zhaoling Mausoleum. Around 60 steles have been excavated, bearing important historical data. The engravings contain excellent works of calligraphy by early Tang calligraphers such as Ouyang Xun and Chu Shuiliang. Another impressive group of relics are the six stone sculptures in relief, named “Six Steeds of Zhaoling”. These are six armoured war horses that the Emperor had ridden in battles, in memory of his military achievements as well as the horses’ distinguished services. (Currently, two of these six steed sculptures are preserved in the museum of the University of Pennsylvania, US, while the rest in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.)

Each of the horses Sa Lutszy, Maogua, Shi Fachi, Bai Tiu, Tae Tsinpyao and Qing Chzhui were masterfully executed in the form of relief sculptures on six 2×1.5 m stone screens. The six beautiful horses immortalized in different poses looks strong and energetic. It seems that another second and they will step down from the screens. The bas-reliefs were installed near the altar in the Zhaolin Mausoleum. Each of the horses has their names and the emperor’s sayings engraved on them.

Nearby Attractions

Useful Travel Tips

  • Admission Fee
    Zhaoling Mausoleum:
    Mar. – Nov. : CNY30   Dec. – Feb. : CNY20
    Zhaoling Museum:
    Mar. – Nov. : CNY40   Dec. – Feb. : CNY25
    Free for children under 1.2 meters (3.9 feet)

  • Opening Hours
    Zhaoling Mausoleum: Mar. – Nov. : 8:30-18:00  Dec. – Feb. : 9:00-17:30
    Zhaoling Museum: Mar. – Nov. : 9:00-17:00  Dec. – Feb. : 9:00-16:30
  • Transportation:
    1. Take the bus from Xianyang Bus Station to Yanxia and Zhaozhen, and get off at Zhaoling Museum.
    2. Take the bus from Xi ‘an West Bus station to Yanxia and Zhaozhen, and get off at Zhaoling Museum. Zhaoling is no direct vehicle, tour must charter or rent a car.
    3. Drive by yourself: Go 28 km north from the Beishuangzhao crossing of 312 national highway  and turn 7 km left at Beitun, then arrive at Zhaoling Museum.
  • A lot of calligraphy, sculptures and paintings are kept in Zhaoling Mausoleum, which offers the precious materials for the study of traditional calligraphy and paintings. Among them, the inscription of Zhangling Mausoleum is really the sample of Calligraphy at the beginning of Tang Dynasty. Furthermore, the mural art and the glaze-colored pottery are very delicate and vivid, getting high praise from the whole country. Some high grade tour products: pottery Terra Cotta Warriors (copies), the copies of Mural arts.