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Zhaoling Tomb
Source: Author: Date: 09.07.22
Located at the eastern foot of Dayu Mountains, Zhaoling is the joint tomb of Zhu Zaihou, the 12th Ming emperor (1537-1572) and his three empresses.
The Underground Palace of Zhaoling was built by Emperor Shizong for his parents on January 2, 1539.It was abandoned, however, as soon as it was completed. In 1572, it was ordered by the emperor to develop into an imperial mausoleum. Buildings were then added on the ground, and the mausoleum as a whole was completed in the following year. Occupying a land area of 34,600 square meters, the mausoleum basically followed the systems developed at the Tailing and Kangling in terms of architecture and layout. In front of the Soul Tower are five-room Ling'en Hall, the five-room side halls (on both the left and the right side), and the three-room Ling'en Gate, while the Tablet Pavilion, the Animal-slaughtering House and the Divine Kitchen are built in front of the tomb palace. The tomb mound rose, however, much higher, and a crescent town or the courtyard of dumb persons (who were employed to complete the last process of the mausoleum so that they could not tell the secrets of the mausoleum to others) was added as new items.
At the turn of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, the buildings at the mausoleum suffered serious damages, with the Soul Tower and Ling'en Hall being burnt down in succession. During the reconstruction of the mausoleum between 1785 and 1787, Ling'en Gate, Ling?en Hall and the Soul Tower were restored. Later on, however, these buildings collapsed one after another due to weathering. In 1987, the Ming Tombs Special Zone Administration of Changping County restored all the buildings inside and outside the tomb palace on their original sites for the purpose of conservation of these cultural relics and promotion of tourism. In September, 1990, Zhaoling was opened to tourists as a scenic spot.
On display in the palace are the history of Zhaoling and life stories of the town owner.