Ming Tombs is the graves of Ming emperors
Ming Tombs is the graves of Ming emperors. It is located in Tianshou Mountain Changping District northwest Beijing. The graves cover more than 120 square kilometers and are almost 50 kilometers away from Beijing. The Ming Tombs are surrounded by mountains in east, west and north sides in a basin. In front of the graves, there is a twisting river. The Ming Tombs were built along the steep mountains and form grand scale. From the first Changling to the last Siling, there are totally thirteen emperors’ tombs here during the more than 230 years.
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From the Yongle Emperor onwards, 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in this area. The Xiaoling Tomb of the first Ming Emperor, Hongwu, is located near his capital Nanjing; the second emperor, Jianwen was overthrown by Yongle and disappeared, without a known tomb. The "temporary" Emperor Jingtai was also not buried here, as the Emperor Tianshun had denied him an imperial burial; instead, Jingtai was buried west of Beijing.The last Ming emperor was buried at the location was Chongzhen, who committed suicide by hanging (on 25th of April 1644), was buried in his concubine Consort Tian's tomb, which was later declared as an imperial mausoleum Si Ling by the emperor of the short-lived Shun Dynasty Li Zicheng, with a much smaller scale compares to the other imperial mausoleums built for Ming Emperors.
During the Ming dynasty the tombs were off limits to commoners, but in 1644 Li Zicheng's army ransacked and set many of the tombs on fire before advancing and capturing Beijing in April of that year.