road contructions, scams and Qing Dong Ling (Qing dynasty, east tombs)
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 4 of 24 › view all entries
September 24th, 2007 – by: portia
The Qing Dong Ling (Dong means east, Qing is the name of the last dynasty, there is another site west of Beijing) is the burial site of the Qing emperors. It had 4 imperial tombs (there are actually smaller tombs for lesser royalties in the area also). Ling means imperial tomb (they get a special word just for being emperor), each emperor's tomb has a name, which is not related to his real name, it's just the name of the tomb. Each emperor also has a "year name", one used to count his reign, this is a name he made up when he starts his rule, so we have QianLong year 1, QianLong year 2, etc. QianLong is this name for his reign. While the emperor's real name is some Manchurian word which most people have never heard of.
- Xiao Ling (the Shunzhi emperor),the tomb of the 1st Qing emperor,
- Jing Ling (Kangxi) the 2nd, and
- Yu Ling (Qianlong) the 4th emperor (the famous Qian Long, who ruled for 60 years!) and
- Twin Ding Dong Ling tombs (Dowager Empress Cixi and Empress Ci'an).
Qing is the last dynasty of the Chinese dynasties, the rulers of the Ching were Manchus who came from the northeastern corner of China, aka Manchuria. They ruled China for 267 years. The different peoples were segrated in the beginning but eventually some integration occurred. During the Qing, the Manchus were the highest class people, and the Han (mainstream Chinese people now) were the lowest class, Mongolians and some other northern people were 2nd and 3rd class.
There was a real impressive spirit road 5km long, lined with stone animals and people statues leading to the entrance of the tombs. Each tomb has some fancy bridge over a moat, typical Chinese entry gates, pavillions for displaying something about the departed emperor and paying yearly respect to them. The emperor would be buried usually with one or more of his favorite wifes who were already dead or died later. The tombs themselves were dug underground, in what is called underground palace. Most of the tombs had been robbed and opened, and the treasures looted in the early 20th century, however the remains were usually not removed during the robberies.
Since these tombs were so far out of Beijing, I don't really think it is worthwhile to most people to go visit on their own. Besides, they were pretty similar in design and layout, so once you saw one or two, the rest were not so interesting anymore. The entrance fee was also kind of expensive, at 120RMB (for all 5 tombs).
I was most impressed with the long spirit way lined with statues. The style of the buildings also remind people of the Forbidden Palace, of course one is for the dead, another for the living, but there are definitely similar in many places.
For dinner, we went back to Beijing (after a LONG drive because we tried to get around the bad detours, to find the expressway which was under a lot of construction so the traffic was very slow!) and ate at Xiheyaju restaurant, which was a very good Chinese restaurant, with a most delicious Peking duck, along with water boiled fish (with LOTS of peppers). We had a good dinner because we were not expecting food in Tibet to be as delicious.
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