Eastern Qing Tombs

Located 125 km east of Beijing, the complex of the Eastern Qing Tombs is the grandest surviving imperial tomb complex in China and houses the tombs of 5 emperors, 15 empresses, many princes, dukes, nurses, and other personalities of the imperial court. Of the 15 tombs covering an area of 80 square kilometers, Qianlong and Cixi tombs are the most impressive.

They are built on the model of the Ming tombs, with successively a bridge of five arches, three pavilions (stone arch), and a bridge of seven arches, a sacred way somewhat different from that of the Ming because lined with pines and cypresses, a gate of the Dragon and the Phoenix. A bridge of three arches was introduced into the enclosure where the tower of the stele bearing the name of the emperor is erected. We then enter the square city with the sacrifice room in the center and the kitchens on the sides. Behind, a porch gives access to the tumulus surrounded by a semi-circular enclosure.

Qianlong and Cixi tombs

The most impressive mausoleums are those of Emperor Qianlong and Empress Cixi.

Qianlong began work on his tomb when he was 30 years old and at great expense. It is estimated to spend 90 tons of silver for this project. The impressive tomb extends over some 500m² and is 54m in length. His underground palace, Yuling, is an entirely beautiful marble construction.

Empress Cixi built a tomb worthy of her pride. It was completely renovated during the Guangxu period, so its gorgeous and exquisite buildings are crowned with the Eastern Qing Tombs. On the bright pillars in the hall, she had a phoenix (symbol of the empress) and a dragon (symbol of the emperor) carved. But, instead of being affixed side by side, the phoenix dominates the dragon!

The Chongling Tomb is the only one open to visitors. The burial chamber is accessed by entering through a tower. The emperor’s urn is placed in the sacrifice hall.

Useful information

Chinese Name: 清东陵
Location: Zuihua City, Tangshan City, Hebei Province
Opening hours: 08h00-17h010
Ticket: 150 RMB/person
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

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