Nanjing: The Mausoleums (Part 2)

On our second day in Nanjing, we went to the two mausoleums located on the Purple Mountain. First up was the mausoleum of Dr Sun Yat-Sen, who is referred to as the “father of modern China”. We took a taxi as close to the entrance as possible as we had to climb 700 metres of stairs to get to the tomb itself.

The square at the entrance of the mausoleum

The square at the entrance of the mausoleum

Memorial archway made out of marble indicating the entrance to the mausoleum

Memorial archway made out of marble marking the entrance to the mausoleum

The long path to the Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways (c.480 metres), lined by some lovely pine and cypress trees

The long path to the Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways (c.480 metres), lined by some lovely pine and cypress trees

Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways

Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways

From the Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways, you can see the next building, which is the Pavilion

From the Mausoleum Gate with Three Archways, you can see the next building, which is the Pavilion

Beyond the Pavilion is where the real climbing begins, to get to the Sacificial Hall. This is the highest point in the mausoleum

Beyond the Pavilion is where the real climbing begins, to get to the Sacificial Hall. This is the highest point in the mausoleum

We were lucky to have very nice weather that day, sunny and quite warm for a winter’s day which made climbing loads of steps a lot easier! There were many tourists so it was quite buzzy but not so many that there was a big queue to get inside the Sacrificial Hall. They didn’t allow any pictures inside the Hall so I can’t post any here but the most eye-catching item in the room is a huge stone statue of Dr Sun in the centre.

The view from the top

The view from the top

Getting down was a lot quicker than going up and so in no time at all we were back at the square. Next up was the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, one of the biggest imperial tombs in China. This mausoleum is also located in the Purple Mountains but judging from the map, it wasn’t really a distance that could be walked. Well, correction, it could be walked, it would just take ages. Thankfully, there was a little mini-tram from the entrance square that could take us to Ming Xiaoling. So we hopped on and off we went.

The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is sprawled across a bigger area than the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum, in fact, it is one of the biggest imperial tombs in China (albeit with a lot fewer steps than the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum). Oddly, there were very few people at this mausoleum even though there were lots of tourists at the first tomb.

We started off at a museum with various bits and bobs of Chinese history and then after that, we started down a pathway.

Down the pathway we go

Down the pathway we go

At the end of the pathway, there is the Tablet Pavilion

At the end of the pathway, there is the Tablet Pavilion

Inside the Tablet Pavilion, there is a stone turtle at the bottom of a central column

Inside the Tablet Pavilion, there is a stone turtle at the bottom of a central column

The beginning of the Sacred Way

The beginning of the Sacred Way

The Sacred Way is lined with numberous pairs of sculptured animals made out of stone. They are said to be guarding the tomb. It starts with a pair of camels, which were said to be chosen to  symbolise the desert and tropical areas, indicating the vast territory of the dynasty

The Sacred Way is lined with numerous pairs of sculptured animals made out of stone. They are said to be guarding the tomb. Here are a pair of camels, which were said to be chosen to symbolise the desert and tropical areas, indicating the vast territory of the Ming dynasty

Beautiful scupture of an elephant

Beautiful scupture of an elephant

After a loooonnnng walk, we finally got to the mausoleum proper.

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Start of the main mausoleum section

The Civil and Military Gate

The Civil and Military Gate

Looking through the Inner Red Gate to Xiao Ling Hall, the main mausoleum building

Looking through the Inner Red Gate to Xiao Ling Hall, the main mausoleum building

Walking across the Ascension Bridge

Walking across the Ascension Bridge

Walking up the Xiao Ling Hall

Walking up the Xiao Ling Hall

Peering inside the main Hall

Peering inside the main Hall

I was expecting some stone statues or a big tomb of some sort inside the main Hall but disappointingly it had a few stalls selling trinkets to tourists…

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