Ancient Emperors and Their Heritages in Xian
Last updated by meimeili at 12/31/2013; Destinations: Xian
Famous Ancient Emperors and Empresses in Xian
Serving as an ancient capital intermittently for various dynasties, Xian produces many renowned emperors in the history of China, who receive especial attention because they left rich heritages to the later generation and made great contributions to Chinese civilization.
Some emperors (such as Qin Shi Huang and the Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty) were noted for their military achievements, some (such as the Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty and the Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty) were celebrated for their cultural achievements, some were well-known for their love stories (such as the Emperor Gaozong and his Empress Wu Zetian, and the Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang Yuhuan of the Tang Dyansty), and some (such as the Emperor Qin?) were famous for their cruelty and tyranny.
Below is a list of the famous ancient emperors who once ruled in Xian, and it’s their heritages that I highly recommend to you during your Xian travel.
1. Qin Shi Huang
As a famous politician and reformer, Qin Shi Huang claimed himself emperor at 39, and he was the first emperor who unified china in the Chinese history. He ordered the construction of the terracotta warriors and his mausoleum during his reign.
As an epitome of the powerful Qin army, the terracotta warriors were placed in three pits according to the ancient military battle formation, including generals, soldiers and terracotta horses, whose gestures are different from one to another. Under Qin Shi Huang’s order, the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang was built by over 720,000 slavers and criminals, and it took over 30 years to finish it, where the replicas of palaces, rare utensils and precious objects were buried according to the depiction of the Book of History by Sima Qian.
Location: Xiahe Village, east of Lingtong District, Xian
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Transport: bus 914, 915, K307 and 306
Ticket fee: 150 RMB /Person from March 16 to November; 120 RMB /Person November 15 to March 15 the next year
2. Emperor Qin II
After the death of Qin Shihuang, Ying Huhai (the Emperor Qin?, the 18th son of Qin Shi Huang) usurped the throne through killing the crowned prince, and tyrannized over his people after ascending the throne, leading to Daze Village Uprising led by Chen Sheng, and he was assassinated by Zhao Gao at 24, thus ending the Qin Dynasty.
A site for commemorating the Emperor Qin II, Emperor Qin?’s Mausoleum Relics Park has an antique Qin flavor. It is composed of the exhibit area and the ruins area, of which the former consists of Porcelain Hall, Bronze & Jade Wares Hall and Restored Mural Hall. The ruins area consists of Mountain Gate, the Grand Hall and the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin II, vividly displaying the profound culture of the Qin Empire.
Location: No. 252, Qujiangchi South Road, Yanta District, Xian
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Transport: 21, 237, 23, 24, 601, 609, 720, 212, 22, 504, 407 and 224
Ticket fee: 20 RMB /Person
3. Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty
As the 4th emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Qi (the Emperor Jing) sat on the throne for 17 years, who reduced corvee and taxes, attached importance to farming, pacified revolts, and allied marriage with the Huns during his reign, creating a golden development time for the Han Empire.
Liu Qi ordered to build Hanyang Mausoleum for himself in 153 B.C., which was finished in 126 B.C. and becomes a park now. The park consists of Mausoleum of the Emperor Jing, Mausoleum of Queen Wang and over 200 subordinate tombs, from which thousands of cultural relics such as terracotta warriors, animal potteries, cauldrons, seals and weapons have been unearthed.
Location: Zhangjiawan Village, Zheyang Town, Weicheng District, Xianyang, Shaanxi Province
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Transport: bus (?) 4, (?)10 and 5
Ticket fee: 90 RMB /Person from March 16 to November 14; 65 RMB /Person November 15 to March 15 the next year
4. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty
As the 7th emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Che (the Emperor Wu), ascended the throne at 16 and ruled for 53 years, who selected the virtuous and appointed the able, crippled the power of vassals and strengthened the imperial power during his reign, greatly promoting social and economic development in the Han Dynasty.
He adopted a policy of proscribing all non-Confucian schools of thought and espousing Confucianism as the orthodox state ideology, preparing a solid ground for the unification of the Han culture. He ordered the construction of his mausoleum (the Mao Mausoleum) in 139 B.C. and it was finished in 87 B.C., where numerous rare and delicate treasures such as jade wares, gold scepters and scripture classics, and rare animals such as turtles, tigers and leopards were buried. Over 20 subordinate tombs such as the Tombs of Generals Wei Qing and Huo Qubing were outside it.
Location: Maoling Village, Nanwei Village, northeast of Xingping, 40 kilometers northwest Xian
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Transport: bus 4, 59, K630 and 13
Ticket fee: 45 RMB /Person from March 16 to November 14; 25 RMB /Person November 15 to March 15 the next year
5. Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty
As a politician, militarist, calligrapher and poet, Li Shimin (the Emperor Taizong) was the 2nd emperor of the Tang Dynasty, who ascended the throne through killing the crowned prince. He remained open-minded, accepted expostulations and advices alike, developed imperial examinations and selected talents extensively after ascending the throne.
He ordered to build his own mausoleum (the Zhao Mausoleum) and Daming Palace during his reign, and his “Reign of Zhenguan” was a golden age economically, politically, militarily, culturally in the history of China. The Zhao Mausoleum was built from 636 to 743 and is the largest mausoleum in the world, where over 160 subordinate tombs such as the Tombs of Fang Xuanling and Wei Zheng are scattered, and it’ a treasure house of cultural relics for researching the economy, politics and culture of the Tang Dynasty.
Location: 22.5 kilometers northwest Liquan County, Shaanxi Province, 70 kilometer from Xian
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Transport: a direct bus at Xian Bus Station will take you there
Ticket fee: 15 RMB /Person
Daming Palace was the most magnificent palace among the three imperial palaces (Daming Palace, Taiji Palace and Xingqing palace) in the Tang Dynasty, and it was built by Li Shimin for his father in 653, however, it was destroyed in 904. Daming Palace has been restored since 2006, and it is mainly composed of Hanyuan Hall, Xuanzheng Hall, Zichen Hall, Dafu Hall, Yanying Hall, Penglai Hall and Taiye Pond, which is opened to the public as a park now.
Location: East Ziqiang Road, Weiyang Distirct, Xian
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 2, 216, 262, 528, 517 and 703
Ticket fee: 90 RMB /Person
6. Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty
Li Zhi (the Emperor Gaozong), the 9th son of the Emperor Taizong, became the crowned prince in 643 and succeeded to the throne in 649, who was courteous to the wise, adopted land equalization system and diligently conducted state affairs during his reign, and this period was called Yonghui Administration in Chinese history. He was buried in the Qian Mausoleum after his death.
As a concubine of the Emperor Taizong, Wu Zetian married Li Zhi after the death of the Emperor Taizong, and she was appointed as empress in 655. Wu Zetian had ruled as effective sovereign since Li Zhi’s debilitating stroke in 660, and she became the first and the only woman ruling a vast empire in the history of China, who was also buried in the Qian Mausoleum.
As the final resting places for the Emperor Gaozong and the Empress Wu Zetian, the Qian Mausoleum was built in 684 and was finished in 707, which was designed according to ancient Chinese astrology with Zhuque Gate in the south, Xuanwu Gate in the north, Qinglong Gate in the east and Baihu Gate in the west. Sixty-one life size stone figures line on the Sacred Path, solemnly guarding the mausoleum. Outside Zhuque Gate is Sima Path, on the east of which stands the Wordless Memorial Tablet, and it’s a highlight of the Qian Mausoleum.
Location: on Mountain Liangshan, 6 kilometers north of Qian County, Xianyang, Shaanxi Province
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from March to November; 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from December to February next year.
Transport: bus (?) 4 will take you there from the East Square of Xian Bus Station
Ticket fee: 70 RMB /Person
7. Emperor Xuzong and Lady Yang of the Tang Dynasty
As the 7th emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Longji (the Emperor Xuanzong) ruled from 712 to 756, who diligently conducting state affairs and promoted talents to make the Tang Empire prosperous and powerful during his early reign. He was infatuated with Yang Yuhuan and over-trusted sycophants during his late reign, leading to the outbreak of Anshi Rebellion and the decline of the Tang Empire. He ordered the construction of Xingqing Palace and Huaqing Pool for Yang Yuhuan to win her favor.
Xingqing Palace features a combination of natural scenery and cultural heritages, where the main buildings include Xingqing Hall, Datong Hall and Chexiang Pavilion, and it has become a park now.
Location of Xingqing Palace: No. 55, Xianning West Road, Beilin District, Xian
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 7, 402, 8, 27, 104 and 800
Ticket fee: free
As a famous winter resort for ancient emperors of the Tang Dynasty, Huaqing Pool (or Huaqing Palace) was where the romantic love story of the Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Yuhuan took place. The main attractions are Feishuang Hall, Jiulong Lake, Changsheng Hall, Lotus Lake and Lotus Pool, Haitang Pool and the Pear Garden.
Location of Xingqing Palace: No. 38, Huaqing Road, Lintong District, Xia
Opening hours: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from March to November; 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from December to February next year
Transport: bus 914, 915 and 306
Ticket fee: 110 RMB /Person