Nanjing - Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
The mausoleum lies at the northern foot of Mt. Zijinshan. Legend says that in order to prevent robbery of the tomb, 13 same processions of funeral troops started from 13 city gates to cover the real burying site. The construction of the mausoleum began in 1381 and ended in 1405, taking 100,000 labors 25 years with huge amount of expenditure. The original wall of the mausoleum was more than 22.5 kilometer. Under heavy guard of 5,000 military troops, the mausoleum was heavily constructed and planted.
The sacred way started from Sifangchang (Rectangular city) which was a pavilion where a splendid carved stone stele for memory of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang was enshrined, on which hymn by his 4th son was inscribed. Now, the top of the pavilion was gone.
In the middle of the 1,800 meter long winding sacred way, there are 6 kinds and 12 pairs of animals guarding the tomb. Further beyond is a pair of decorative columns called Huabiao in Chinese. 4 couples of ministers and generals have been standing there for centuries to accompany their His Majesty beneath.
On an inscribed stone tablet outside of the gate of the mausoleum, an official notification of the local government in the Qing dynasty ordered to protect the tomb. Inside of the gate, there is a pavilion in which 5 steles stand. The one in the middle was inscribed with 4 Chinese characters, which was written by Emperor Kangxi in his third inspection tour.
Behind the pavilion, there used to be other annexes, however most of them collapsed into relics from which the original splendor can still be traced. The clay vault, which is 400 m in diameter, is where the emperor and his queen were buried. On stonewall surrounding the vault, 7 Chinese characters was inscribed, which means the mausoleum of Emperor Ming Taizu (respected title of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang).
The mountain laying to the south of the tomb is the mausoleum of Sun Quan, King of State Wu in the Three Kingdoms period (220-265). It is the reason why the sacred way is not straight.