Beijing and China Tour Expert

Dingling Tomb

  • Dingling is the tomb of the 13th Ming Emperor Wanli and his two wives. It is the only one of the Ming Tombs excavated so far. In addition to the underground palace and coffins, more than 3000 pieces of precious treasure were unearthed, and are on display in the exhibition halls.


  • ID : 122
  • City : beijing
  • English name : Dingling Tomb
  • Chinese name : 定陵
  • Type : Ancient Mausoleum,
  • Level : easy
  • Kids : possible
  • Elders: possible
  • Best season : all year round
  • Visiting length : 1-2 hours
  • Distance to city center : 40 km

Introduction of Dingling Tomb

  • Dingling is the tomb of the 13th Ming Emperor Wanli and his two wives. It is the only one of the Ming Tombs excavated so far. In addition to the underground palace and coffins, more than 3000 pieces of precious treasure were unearthed, and are on display in the exhibition halls, including gold plates, basins, cups, bowls and spoons of various sizes for the emperor.

Photo of Dingling Tomb

  • The photo of Dingling covers images of gate, hall, teblet, map and lingEn tower.
  • Dingling Tomb  photo

Highlights of visiting Dingling Tomb

    Underground Palace, Soul Tower, Treasure City

Helper to visit Dingling Tomb

  • Address in English : Changchi Road, Shisanling Town, Changping District, Beijing, China
  • Address in Chinese : 北京市昌平区十三陵镇昌赤路
  • Tel : +86-10-60761424
  • Post code : 102213
  • Ticket time : 8:30-16:30
  • Open time : 8:30-16:30
  • Closing time : null
  • Location : Dingling Tomb is around 40 km to downtown beijing


  • Public bus: Bus 314, 872, 878, 879, 925, Changping 55, Changping 32(Changling Station)
  • Subway: Take Subway Changping Line, get off at Dongguang Station and change bus 314.
  • Private car is the best method to visit Dingling Tomb with local tour operator.


  • high season : 60 RMB/person.
  • shoulder season : 60 RMB/person.
  • low season : 60 RMB/person.

Dingling Tomb Tour

Please send us an email if you can not find Dingling Tomb tour you need on this page. We can tailor a private trip to Dingling Tomb .

Hotel near Dingling Tomb

  • 5 star/duluxe hotel
  • Beijing Marriott Hotel Changping
  • 4 star/superior hotel
  • Sinopec Conference Center
  • Auspicious Business Hotel
  • 3 star/comfort hotel
  • JI Hotel (Beijng Changping Longshui Road)
  • Naturetime Hotel
  • History of Dingling
  • Dingling is the tomb of the 13th Ming Emperor Wanli and his two wives. WanLi was born in 1563 and was chosen and named crown prince at the age of six. He succeeded the throne when he was ten years old and ruled for 48 years from 1573 to 1620. Emperor Wanli was buried in Dingling with his two wives. His first wife had no son and died only a few months before the emperor. The second one died in 1612, eight years before the emperor’s death and was buried in the nearby tomb for imperial concubines. Her son succeeded Emperor Wanli but died only 29 days after his enthronement. He left the throne to his son, the 15th Ming Emperor Tianqi (reigned 1621-1627) who promoted his grandmother, the second wife of Emperor Wanli, to the rank of Empress Dowager and he coffin was moved into the same tomb with deceased emperor.
    Construction of Dingling and the underground palace was started in 1584 when Emperor Wanli was only 22 years old. It took six years to complete in 1590. The tomb was damaged in the peasant uprising in 1644, the year when the Ming Dynasty collapsed. It was not restored until the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong. In 1914, the Gate and the Hall of Eminent Favor were burned down again.
  • Above-ground mausoleum of Dingling
  • Dingling Tomb consists of above-ground mausoleum and Underground Palace. The above-ground mausoleum covers an area of about 180,000 square meters. Like other tombs, it is square in the front part and round in the rear, representing earth and heaven respectively. There are three connecting courtyards in the front square part, and the Treasure City in the rear round part. The main buildings were arranged on the central axis including Lingen Gate, Lingen Hall, Treasure City and Soul Tower. The Soul Tower is a magnificent building. All the brackets, eaves and rafters were made of stone with carved designs and painted in colors to resemble wooden structures. And miraculously enough, no cracks between the stone parts have been found widened up to now. The stones of the Soul Tower laid on the floor of the Soul Tower were connected closely like a whole piece. Melted iron was poured into the cracks between the stone to ensure solidity.

Question or Comment

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    • Underground Palace of Dingling
    • The Underground Palace is the most valuable part of Dingling Tomb. It was hidden 27 meters below the surface. The Palace was composed of five chambers, namely the antechamber, central chamber, rear chamber, left and right annex chambers. The whole complex was built with giant stone slabs and sealed by the "Diamond Wall". The antechamber of underground Palace of Dingling was empty as an entrance to the central chamber.
      Three marble thrones were placed in the Central Chamber for the emperor and his two wives. In front of each throne, there is a set of five glazed pottery pieces, consisting of two candlesticks, two beakers and an incense burner. The white porcelain jar was used to contain sesame oil for providing oil for "everlasting lamp. The lamp was lit when the emperor was buried, but after the tomb was closed, the light naturally went out for want of oxygen. Such a layout signified that even after death the emperor still sat on high receiving the homage of his subjects and exercising rule over all.
      The Rear Chamber of underground Palace of Dingling was the largest one of the five chambers. It was 30 meters long and nine meters wide with a big coffin dais in the center. Three coffins of Emperor Wanli and his two empresses were placed on the big coffin dais. There is a square hole in the center of the dais, called "gold Well". It was filled with yellow clay to show the sacred connection between the coffins and the earth. Each coffin was surrounded by pieces of uncut jade, which were believed to preserve the bodies from decay. This is the highest level of burial in ancient China: to bury the dead at the Gold Well and among jade pieces. Also on the dais were 26 red lacquered wooden chests containing the funerary objects.
      The left and right annex chambers of underground Palace of Dingling are of the same size each containing a white marble dais evidently intended for a coffin. There is an entrance and a section of the underground passage to the backside of the underground palace. According to the Ming funeral institution, the coffins of the empresses were to be brought in through the left and right passages and kept on the dais. The reason why these two annex chambers were empty is that the burial was done in a hurry. There was not enough time to open up the left and right passages, so all the three coffins had to be brought in through the front entrance. It happened that the doorways of the annex chambers were too narrow for coffins, so the annex chambers were too narrow for coffins, so they could only be placed in the rear chamber. In front of the antechamber, central chamber and rear chamber stood huge white marble doors, all similar in appearance.
      Each door slab weighed four tons and was made of a whole piece f marble, 3.3 meters high and 1.7 meter wide. It was 40 cm thick at the hinges, but tapered off towards the middle to reduce the pressure on the pivots, so that the heavy doors could be opened easily. A bronze crossbeam of about ten tons was installed on the top to ensure the two heavy panels.
      The self-acting stone, 1.6 meters high, was used as a stone block in each chamber to shut the door from inside. Its lower end was placed in a hole in front of the door while its upper end leaned against the back of the door. Then the door couldn't be opened from outside.
      With the four-cm-wide gap between the two door slabs, people doing the excavation work managed to open the door by fitting in a wire to hold the stone block and use a piece of plank to push it down.
      The ink-writing on the first stone block reads: The self-acting stones of the seven doors in the palace are not yet tested, hence the name self-acting stone.
    • The excavation of the Underground Palace
    • DingLing is the only one of the Ming Tombs excavated so far. In early summer of 1956, the Chinese archaeologists began the excavation of the Underground Palace of Dingling. It took two years and was finished in 1958. Mounds of dirt were indications of where the tomb was located, but there were few clues showing the entrance to the tomb. By chance, the archaeological team found some loose bricks on the right side of a wall outside the Soul Tower. That was their starting point. From there they dug the first trench.
      When they opened the second tunnel, a small stone was discovered. Inscribed on it were Chinese characters, meaning, This stone is 160 feet from the sealing wall of the funeral chamber at a depth of 35 feet. According to this clue, they dug a third tunnel and finally found the entrance to the palace.
    • Precious Treasure of Dingling
    • In addition to the underground palace and coffins, more than 3000 pieces of precious treasure were unearthed, and are on display in the exhibition halls today. They include gold plates, basins, cups, bowls and spoons of various sizes for the emperor. Gold and silver ingots are marked with the date of making and it weight and some even bear the name of the makers and the supervising officials.
      The most valuable treasures are the golden crown and four phoenix crowns for the emperor and the empresses. The golden crown was the emperor’s imperial crown. It was made of very fine gold filaments and decorated in the back with tow dragons sporting with a pearl. The phoenix crowns were worn by the Empresses at grand ceremonies. Each crown was inlaid with 5000 pearls of different sizes and more than a hundred precious stone, which were bought from Sri Lanka and India. Apart from the gold and silver articles, a large amount of porcelain, jade, cloth and silk fabrics were found in the tomb. The emperors dragon robe was embroidered with 12 dragons, each different from the other in design. The one-hundred-boy gown was for the empresses. All these archaeological finds represent the excellent and exquisite craftsmanship of the Ming Dynasty.
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