The Ming Tombs
It is also called the emperor tomb. It was built on the 19th year of Emperor Jiajing’s reign (AD1540). The whole area occupies about 600 Mus. Red walls were circled all around, with the circumference of 3.6 kilometers. In the front, there are two red gates. They are the no-roof beam buildings, which were made of bricks and glazed tiles. Two stone stelae stand in the front of the gates, with the characters of “官员人等至此下马”, which mean officials should get off before enter the tombs. The Deity Path extends to the inner of the tomb directly. The whole path was made of flagstones, with 1300 meters long. Along the path, there are stele pavilions, Ta Xing doors and five stone bridges over Jiuquhe River. Moreover, at the two sides of the Deity Path, there line Marble Pillars, Lions, Unicorns, Camels, Elephants, Kylin, kneeling Horses, standing Horses, stone civil officials statues and military officers statues in proper orders.
The front gate of the inner wall calls Xiaosi Gate. He’en temple is at the back of Xiaosi Gate. The two buildings were destroyed in the late Ming Dynasty. The left colored glaze flowers, the double-dragon wall, the foundation stone of the He’en temple, stone carved railings, etc, are all of high handicraft levels. The final is Yingcheng city. It has another name of Baocheng city. Two huge tombs lie there, one for Zhu Youyuan, while another for his wife. Minglou Building stands in the front of Yingcheng. It has the square shape, with the length of 9.2 meters for each side. Minglou Building has yellow colored glaze roof. One tombstone was put inside Minglou Building, with regular scripts of “恭睿献皇帝之陵”, which means the tomb of Emperor Gong Ruixian. The drainage hole of Yingcheng was decorated with 36 huge white marble dragon heads. And now the Ming Tombs are the key historical and cultural site under the government protection.
The Ming Tombs and Zhu Youyuan:
Zhu Youyuan in the Ming tomb was only a prince. He lived at Zhongxiang city at that time. When he died, he buried as a prince there. On March, the thirteenth year of Zhengde, Emperor Wuzong died. According to the law of the Ming Dynasty, as he had no sons to inherit his throne, his cousin, Zhu Houzong inherited Wuzong’s throne. Then Emperor Zhu Houzong changed the year to “Jiajing”. He was called Emperor Shizong in the history. When Emperor Shizong was on his throne, he conferred titles of his father, Zhu Youyuan, on Emperor Gong Ruixian, and his mother on Queen Zhangsheng.